ANALYSIS OF THE CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN TURKISH SOCIAL STUDIES/HISTORY EDUCATION IN REGARD TO THE EUROPEAN UNION STANDARDS

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ANALYSIS OF THE CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN TURKISH SOCIAL STUDIES/HISTORY EDUCATION IN REGARD TO THE EUROPEAN UNION STANDARDS

ABSTRACT

The current study examines the reconstruction of Turkish social studies/history curriculum and assesses how well the program conforms to the established EU directions and norms.  The purpose of this study is to reconcile the issues of Turkish accession, the implementation of European Union educational standards and policies, the influence of political change (with regard to the EU) on social studies/history texts in Turkey, and the differences between traditional pedagogy and curricular reforms for the whole of Turkish Education.

This study considers the historical framework of the relationship between Turkey and the EU; Turkey’s efforts toward educational modernization; the rationale for such initiatives; and their role as creating complicating factors for both national education reform, and, simultaneously, EU acceptance of Turkey as a nation and, in particular, its history/social studies curriculum.

The complexity of integrating one nation with another is significantly difficult in itself.  The challenge of integrating culturally distinct national entities into a functioning, peaceful community of states increases this difficulty by several orders of magnitude.  Therefore, this study explores the conflicting imperatives and the efforts to establish commonality.  In this area, the influence of history/social studies education becomes the focus as it is the vanguard for establishing permanently altered mind-sets for the ultimate good of both Turkey and the European Community.

Finally, of ultimate importance to this study is the status of evolutionary change in

Turkish history/social studies education.  Based upon the assumption that EU

membership for Turkey is a positive step toward avoiding marginalization in the increasing integration motivated by globalization, an evaluation of the current status and the necessary progression of change is not only logical, but also imperative for this study’s value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF FIGURES ………………………………………………………………………………………..ix

LIST OF TABLES………………………………………………………………………………………….x

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS……………………………………………………………………………..xi

Chapter 1  RESEARCH OVERVIEW…………………………………………………………………1

1.1 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………..1

1.2 Research Rationale ……………………………………………………………………………..2

1.2.1 Research Problem and Purpose ……………………………………………………4

1.2.2 Research Considerations and Issues……………………………………………..5

1.3 Research Construct……………………………………………………………………………..6

Chapter 2 HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK…………………………………………………………..8

2.1 Overview and Rationale ………………………………………………………………………..8

2.2 Turkish Commitment to EU Membership………………………………………………..8

2.3 Historical Framework of Turkish Education……………………………………………9

2.3.1 Kemalism, Post-Kemalism and Education…………………………………….11

2.3.2 Selective History and Linguistics: Reorientation Simulations…………13

2.3.3 Education’s Role in Early Turkish Democratic Initiatives…………….15

2.3.4  Relevance to Research……………………………………………………………….15

 

2.4 Historical Framework: Turkish and European Union Relations.. ………………16

2.4.1 Europe: Turkish Admiration and Scorn ………………………………………..17

2.4.2 The Situation in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s……………………………19

2.4.3 The Situation in the 1980s………………………………………………………….20

2.4.4 The situation in the 1990s……………………………………………………………21

2.4.5 The Current Situation in Turkey-EU Relations………………………………22

2.5 Decades of Contention………………………………………………………..23

       

Chapter 3  REVIEW OF LITERATURE……………………………………………………………25

3.1 The Sociology of Knowledge……………………………………………………………….25

3.2 Pedagogy and Social Constructivism, Definitions:………………………………….25

3.2.1 Constructivism ………………………………………………………………………….26

3.2.2 Social Constructivism…………………………………………………………………26

3.2.3 Social Reconstructivism……………………………………………………………..27

3.3 Relationship between Education and Social Change………………………………..27

3.3.1 Social Recinstructuralism……………………………………………………………29

3.4 Modernization Theorists………………………………………………………30

3.5 Modernization Theory and Turkey………………………………………………………..31

3.6 Theoretical Application ……………………………………………………………………….32

3.7 Theoretical Application to Turkey…………………………………………………………34

3.8  Turkish Social/Historical Pedagogical Issues…………………………………………34

3.9  Assessment of Turkish History Pedagogy and Materials ………………………..38

3.10 EU and Education: Issues from a larger Perspective………………………………40

3.11 Milton J. Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity……..42

3.11.1 Ethnocentric Stages…………………………………………………………………….44

3.11.2 Ethno-relative Stages………………………………………………………………….45

3.11.3 Chapter summary………………………………………………………47

Chapter 4  EU: CONFLICTING IMPERATIVES, ESTABLISHING COMMONALTY ……………………………………………………………………………………48

4.1 The United Europe…………………………………………………………………48

4.2  Europe and Diversity ………………………………………………………………………………..49

4.2.1  European Community Origins and Challanges ……………………………………49

4.2.2 Initial Efforts toward Cooperation………………………………………………………51

4.2.3  The Challenges for a United Europe ………………………………………………….52

4.3  Interculturalism and Intercultural Learning………………………………………………….53

4.4  The Educational Key…………………………………………………………………………………54

4.5  Bennett’s Model and The European Community…………………………………………..54

4.5.1 Practical Imperatives for European Unity ……………………………………………55

4.5.2 EU Response to Educational Imperatives…………………………………………….56

4.6  Examining EU Educational Policy …………………………………………………………….58

4.7 Implemented Programs: Council of Europe: History Education Projects,

Seminars and Conferences…………………………………………..……………60

4.7.1 The Joint Program for the North Caucasus…………………………….…..60

4.7.2 Joint Program for the South Caucasus……………………………………..60

4.7.3 Moldova Teaching History Reform………………………………………..61

4.7.4 Ukraine: Joint Programs……………………………………………………61

4.7.5 Russian Federation Seminars………………………………………………..62

4.7.6 Tbilisi Initiative      …………………………………………………………63

4.7.7 Black Sea Initiative…………………………………………………………63

4.7.8 South East Europe Stability Pact…………………………………………..64

4.7.9 Matra (former Yugoslavia) Initiative……………………………………………65

4.8 NGO Projects and Initiatives……………………………………………………  65

4.9 Council of Europe and EUROCLIO Projects…………………………………….71

4.10 EU initiatives for Standards of Competency ……………………………………………….83

4.10.1 Socrates Program……………………………………………………………………………83

4.10.2 Leonardo da Vinci Program……………………………………………………………..85

4.10.3 Youth Programs……………………………………………………………………………..85

4.10.4 Third-World Programs ……………………………………………………………………86

4.11 The Status of Social Studies/History Education…………………………………………..87

4.11.1 EU Standards for History Education………………………………………………….88

4.11.2 Established EU Social Studies Standards …………………………….….89

4.11.3  Turkish Initiatives for Compliance with EU Standards ………………………94

4.12 Chapter Summary………………………………………………………… ……..95

 

Chapter 5  METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………………………………98

5.1 The Purpose, Research Questions and Case Study Design……………………………98

5.1.1 Research Questions………………………………………………………99

5.1.2 Phases of Data Collection and Analysis Strategies…………………………100

5.2 Participants: Credentials, Backgrounds and Associations………………………   104

5.2.1 Participant Profiles………………………………………………………104

5.2.2 Validity of the Study…………………………………………………….110

5.3 Data Analysis and Reduction……………………………………………………   112

5.4 Interview Methodology ……………………………………………………………112

5.5 Coding and Clustering …………………………………………………………….112

5.6 Analytical Techniques……………………………………………………………..114

5.6.1 Constant Comparison…………………………………………………………….114

5.6.2 Frame Analytic Theory…………………………………………………………..115

5.7 Chapter Summary………………………………………………………………….116

 

Chapter 6 FINDINGS & DISCUSSION…………………………………………………………….117

6.1 Findings& Discussion………………………………………………………..117

6.1.1 The EU Integration and Turkey………….………………………………117

6.1.2 Changes in Mentality……………………………………………………121

6.1.3 Official Ideology vs. Democracy-Objectivity……………………………125

6.1.4 Reflections on Curricula and Textbooks………………………………   127

6.1.5 Role of NGOs…………………………………………………………   .128

6.1.6 Kemalism………………………………………………………………. .129

6.1.7 Citizenship/Identity……………………………………………………    130

6.1.7.1 The European Dimension to Education for Citizenship ………132

6.2 New Social Studies Education Program………………………………   ……135

  • 1First Phase-Prior to the New Program……………………………… ….137

6.2.2 Factors that Force Program Improvement………………………………138

6.2.3 Second Phase-During the Preparation of the Program…………….……141

6.2.4 The Social Studies Curriculum Committee………………………….….142

6.2.5 The Process for Develop the New Program ……………………………143

6.2.6 The Distinctive Vision of the 2004 Social Studies Program……………146

  • Analysis of New Curriculum…………………………………………………153
    • Newtonian Versus Quantum…………………………………………….153
    • Political Influence……………………………………………………….154
    • Comparisons with Previous Learning Programs………………………..155
    • Basic Approach………………………………………………………….155
    • Content…………………………………………………………………..157
    • Aims……………………………………………………………………..158
    • Learning-Teaching Process………………………………………………159
    • Measuring and Evaluation………………………………………………160
  • Comparison with Other Countries……………………………………………161
  • Features and Advice………………………………………………………….165
  • Capacity of Programs to Change……………………………………………..167
  • Implicit Features of the Programs…………………………………………….168
  • Critical Thinking…………………………. …………………………………169
  • Suggestions for Implementing the Programs…………………………………171
  • An Evaluation of the New Curriculums of “Social Studies” and

“Citizenship”………………………………………………………………………174

  • Educational Problems and Conflicts of the New Curriculum…………..174
  • Problem with Curricula Themes…………………………………………175
  • Problems with New Curriculum Implementation…………………………….177
    • Conflicts with Classic Methods…………….……………………………177
    • Infrastructure Weskness…………………………………………………178

 

CHAPTER-7 CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS AND FURTHER QUESTIONS… …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 179

BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………………………………………………………….. 190

CHAPTER 1 RESEARCH OVERVIEW

1.1 Introduction

Turkey has been pursuing a project of modernization for at least two centuries. Since the 1980s the thrust of the project has systematically and exclusively focused the country toward Westernization. This direction has as its goal, Turkey’s acceptance as an official member of the European Union. Toward this end, Turkey began programs and initiated with the Kemalist led revolution’s (1923) transition from traditional OttomanIslamic institution and values to those of the West (Eskicumali, 1994).  A central element of this concept has been to employ the educational system as the long-term vehicle for restructuring Turkish society through reforms that would create a better and modern country which coincides with the secularism of other European nations.

The overall societal goal coupled with using the educational system as the pathway for change to achieve the goal of entering the European Union require Turkey to configure its educational system in accordance with the educational standards of the European Union.

Therefore, the current study examines the reconstruction of Turkish social studies/history curriculum and assesses how well the program conforms to the established EU directions and norms.  The purpose of this study is to reconcile the issues of Turkish accession, the implementation of European Union educational standards and policies, the influence of political change (with regard to the EU) on social studies/history texts in Turkey, and the differences between traditional pedagogy and curricular reforms for the whole of Turkish Education.

1.2 Research Rationale

In general, history as a school subject has traditionally assumed the role of inculcating or reinforcing national identity, national consciousness and political values (Maw, 1991; Weinbrenner, 1990).  International research shows that curriculum and textbooks are significant vehicles for the transmission of values which project the ideology of the state (Apple, 1989; Carnoy and Samoff, 1990; Giroux and Penna, 1979; Jansen, 1990). “The history textbook is a political forum in which individual and groups advocate their views. Every writer, every publisher of school books has political beliefs and advocates these in their work” (Richardson, 1986, p.31). Hence this current study is very important to address the EU’s political views on history education.

While examining the rise of the nation-state, Macro-sociologists have repetitively argued that the provision of formal instruction is a universal imperative across the modern state system (Benavot et al., 1991; Meyer, Ramirez & Soysal, 1992; Ramirez &

Boli, 1987) and one that is tied to national political identities and state responsibilities (Myers, Ramirez & Soysal, 1992). Gellner (1983) suggests that the provision for education determines a state’s entry into the modern industrial world and claims that educational systems expose the realities of state power. Therefore, history education plays a very important role as it is connected with all other subjects like a reflector.

Others make an even stronger case when they argue that legitimate education creates a skilled, productive, and patriotic citizenry; it also defines the relationship between state and citizens. Therefore, social theorists (e.g., Mazzini, 1995 and Max

Weber, 1995) emphasize that the provision for formal instruction serves an essential and legitimating function in the context of state-building. In addition, these socio-political philosophers share the belief that state-sponsored education paves the way to social unification and political cohesion (Blitz, 1997).

Turkey is a classic example of the above observations, but the use of curriculum and textbooks in furtherance of political and social agendas, is complicated by the fact that these vehicles, once employed by the Turkish nation-state to promote Kemalism, the basic ideas, beliefs actions and strategies of Kemal Ataturk (the founder of the new republic) now, must under-gird different goals.  Prior to the last two decades, Turkish social studies/history curriculum and textbooks have conveyed to students those norms which stressed national aspirations and identity (Swartz, 1997). The associated ideologies were to direct the social system toward its nationalistic goals of an integrated society and optimized programs for the nation. Now, however, the focus of the issues has switched from those of national interest to those of transnational accommodation because of Turkey’s candidacy for entry into the EU.

Turkey’s situation is typical, then, as in today’s world, new dynamics and challenges complicate the modernist’s and state-centricist’s concept of social unification, as mentioned above.

“The idea that states can monopolize and control the distribution of critical resources – including social resources such as training – has been contested by the liberalization of trade and capital and the subsequent globalization of economies through powerful multi-national firms.” (Blitz, 1997, p.34)

 

The European Union (EU) presents a unique multi-perspective polity (Ruggie, 1993) because international treaties which take supremacy over national laws are the foundation of the EU. As a result of intra-national agreements, the EU has accumulated far reaching powers over multiple policy areas and industries (e.g. agriculture, coal and steel) which had been the uncontested domain of individual nation-states. What arises is a very real challenge to the idea of state sovereignty and autonomy. Supra-nationalism accurately describes this challenge (Blitz, 1997).  Most pointedly, with regard to this research is the same supra-nationalism imposed upon history/social studies as it replaces the traditional nationalistic inclination on the way to full societal integration on a continental scale.

1.2.1 Research Problem and Purpose

In this age of globalization, the extent to which the EU can impose its educational norms on Turkish education as the membership process unfolds is in question. Therefore, the problem addressed in this study concerns the relationship between education and national development in Turkey and the degree of influence the EU can exercise appropriately on that development.

Unlike the previous social-constructivist (definition is provided later) theories that mainly focused on explaining domestic socio-political issues, recent sociological (Gamson, 1988, 1995, 1996; Rumford, 2002; Soysal, 1996, 2000) and international relations (Onis, 2002; Keyder, 1997; Wendt 1990) studies attempt to utilize social constructivism to address the interactions between transnational issues (i.e., international politics supra-nationalism, cultural globalization) and domestic issues (i.e., identity politicization, social movement and national identity reconstruction). The essential purpose of this study is to examine the role of education as Turkey transits from a nationalistic orientation toward EU membership and its inherent multi-national/ multicultural integration.  Of particular concern in this regard are: 1) the issues of sovereign and supra-nationalism which challenge Turkey’s candidacy for membership in the EU in general; 2) the tense relationship between formal education and political power in Turkey; 3) the specific tension and its reflection in the new social studies program; and 4) under these circumstances, the progress, challenges and needed reforms to accomplish social studies/history education reforms for both Turkey and EU candidacy requirements.

1.2.2 Research Considerations and Issues

To further refine the previously listed issues, this study considers the historical framework that is the foundation for the current situation, especially the relationship between Turkey and the EU.  Considered as well are Turkey’s efforts toward educational modernization, the rationale for such initiatives and their role as creating complicating factors for both national education reform, and, simultaneously, EU acceptance of Turkey as a nation and, in particular, its history/social studies curriculum.

The complexity of integrating not only one nation with another is significantly difficult in itself.  The challenge of integrating culturally distinct national entities into a functioning, peaceful community of states increases difficulty by several orders of magnitude.  Therefore, this study explores the conflicting imperatives and the efforts to establish commonality.  In this area, the influence of history/social studies education becomes the focus as it is the vanguard for establishing permanently altered mind-sets for the ultimate good of both Turkey, and the European Community.

Finally, of ultimate importance to this study is the status of evolutionary change in Turkish history/social studies education.  Based upon the assumption that EU membership for Turkey is a positive step toward avoiding marginalization in the increasing integration motivated by globalization, an evaluation of the current status and the necessary progression of change is not only logical, but also imperative for this study’s value.

1.3 Research Construct

While this introductory chapter uses broad strokes to delineate the limits of this study, subsequent chapters establish the foundations for analysis and conclusions.  Chapter 2 is devoted to the historical framework that has resulted in the current situation both for Turkey and the European Community in terms of the nationalism of the latter and the standards for acceptance into the community by the former.  The steps forward, the economic, cultural and political imperatives, and the regressions caused by changing global priorities are important for understanding the challenges surmounted and the obstacles envisioned.  A discussion of the function of history/social studies in both creating and dispatching these impediments provides the scaffold for framing the current issues.

Chapter 3, a review of literature, considers current theoretical thinking with regard to history/social studies education in general, and in the specifics of Turkey’s 21st century situation.  Also in this chapter is a discussion of the concepts forwarded by Milton J. Bennett (1993) as he proposes a model for intercultural sensitivity.  When applied to the European Community and to Turkey, the model provides a useful guide for understanding the stages of integration and identifies their general characteristics.  Applying the model to EU imperatives and Turkey’s educational initiatives establishes the position of each entity on Bennett’s continuum, thus revealing where each is and what is likely to transpire next.

Chapter 4 discusses the conflicts between EU imperatives and Turkish national interests and the efforts to find commonality.  History/social studies education is the arbitrator, and the specifics of the educationally oriented efforts to discover, standardize and implement integration clarify accomplishment and direction.

Chapter 5 discusses the methodology employed for data gathering and necessary for the following qualitative analysis of Chapter 6.   The final chapter incorporates all the disparate lines of reasoning and researched material to analyze the Turkish situation and the effectiveness of the history/social studies curriculum in enhancing Turkey’s integration into the European Community.  As becoming a full member in the EU is an ongoing process, this chapter also considers the challenges that lie ahead and the steps necessary to successfully engage them.

ANALYSIS OF THE CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN TURKISH SOCIAL STUDIES/HISTORY EDUCATION IN REGARD TO THE EUROPEAN UNION STANDARDS

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