School of Foreign Languages - Professional Development


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“Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.”

Henry L. Doherty

Bahçeşehir University School of Foreign Languages (BAU SFL) has a strong commitment to creating an engaging work context which values development and growth of its faculty. To this end, it has a Professional Development Unit (PDU) whose mission is to serve and support the academic staff of BAU SFL to help them reach their full potential, both personally and professionally.  In line with this mission, PDU aims (1) to promote high quality learning and teaching to meet international standards and (2) to create autonomous and self-directed instructors

To realize above aims, PDU organizes the following activities for BAU SFL staff:

1. Induction Program: In order to welcome the newly hired instructors to the institution and prepare them for their new posts, PDU organizes a “two-week induction program”. Such training aims to orient the new instructors to the school quickly and more effectively and consequently let them better achieve their professional and personal objectives in their new setting.  This induction training is compulsory for each newly hired teacher. 

2. Teacher Presentations: In order to encourage instructors to share their good practice with their colleagues so that all are informed about the good practice within the institution, PDU organizes “Teacher Presentations”. In other words, teacher presentations aim (1) to create an opportunity where instructors can share their good practice with their colleagues and also (2) to build and maintain a shared understanding of good practice within the institution.

3. PD Days: PDU organizes “PD Day”, which can be described as a “BAU-only” in-house conference that is open to BAU SFL staff only. PD Days aim (1) to bring academicians/professionals in or outside BAU and SFL teachers together to create a context to exchange ideas regarding ELT and (2) to contribute to the personal development of SFL instructors through organising workshops about fields other than ELT (e.g. Psychology) . PD Days are held twice a year: One in January and one in May. PD Days could be organized in the following modes: F2F, online or hybrid.

4. TELU Workshops: Throughout the year the PDU organizes workshops at different times of the year in collaboration with TELU (Technology Enhanced Learning Unit). These TELU workshops aim (1) to enhance and refresh instructors’ existing knowledge & skills in integrating technology into their teaching and (2) to familiarize the instructors with the recent changes and developments in educational technologies, and finally (3) to build and maintain a shared understanding of the conceptualised aspects of technology integration into English Language Teaching across the Institution.

5. Developmental Class Visits: Developmental class visits are carried out by the PDU aiming to improve the instructor’s ability to assess his/her own practices and help her/him become a reflective practitioner. Class visits are accompanied by pre- and post-class visit meetings. Based on the reflection results in the post-conference, the instructor and the trainer decide on a follow-up action to meet the individual instructor’s needs.

6.  Peer Observations: For continuous learning and development, instructors are encouraged to observe fellow teachers and be observed by them at least once every academic year. The rationale is that peer observation process has benefits on both parties involved: the observing teacher has the advantage of seeing how teaching styles and everything else might be different in every class and this might give them a real aim to reflect on their own practice, and the observed teacher might benefit from an objective observer to show him the things which s/he might normally overlook.

7. Reflection Sessions with a Trainer: These sessions are specifically held for newly hired instructors to further support them in their everyday (level specific) teaching related responsibilities and provide a forum where they can share their challenges and seek solutions together. These sessions create a setting to let them further discuss and ask any questions and/or queries they may have regarding the academic processes within the institution. A trainer moderates the sessions and encourages full participation of the new academic staff in the first term.

8.  Post-Graduate Courses: In addition to the above mentioned PDU activities, Bahçeşehir University may also offer its full time faculty, administrators and staff partial funding for master’s and PhD programs offered at the university.

9. Buddying: The PDU aims to cater “Buddying Program” to the needs of the newly hired instructors to ease their transitional period in a new institution. Considering the first few weeks are the most important, stressful and demanding period in a new context, the program starts at the beginning of the academic year and lasts for a module.

10. Collaboration with Mentora College: Professional Development Unit cooperates with Mentora College, a member of BAU Global Network, which offers internationally recognized certificate and diploma programs awarded by Cambridge ESOL, part of the University of Cambridge University and offers the following courses to its instructors at reduced prices.

i.     DELTA (Cambridge University ESOL Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults)

ii.   CELTA (Cambridge University ESOL Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults)

11. Collaboration with “Bahçeşehir University Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT)”: BAU PDU also collaborates with the university’s “Center for Learning & Teaching (CLT)” whose goal is to contribute to the continuous development and improvement of BAU learners, teachers and the learning environment via trainings and support activities and to contribute to society at large via research activities. PDU cooperates with CLT and ask them to design services according to the specific needs of BAU SFL staff whenever relevant.