December 11, 2015
Last Friday, Alex and I were invited to guest lecture at our university representative, Meltem’s English classes. We skipped our Turkish classes that morning and were excited at this opportunity to actually ‘lecture’ since we don’t get to do that through our speaking clubs. Meltem said we could lecture about any topic we wanted, she wanted this exercise to strengthen her students’ English listening skills.
Alex decided to create a PowerPoint about Christmas, as she loves the holiday, and I decided to lecture about American government, as I love America and government studies. I think it’s important for students to understand American vocabulary that they might see or hear in the news, such as “Congress,” “Supreme Court ruling” and “Secretary Kerry.” I wanted to them have a basic understanding of how our government is set up and how it works. In order to understand why our government is a democracy, I whizzed through early American history and lectured about colonialism, “no taxation without representation,” and the war for independence from the British monarchy. When we got to the slide about Presidential Elections, kids shouted out "Is Donald Trump really going to win?" They were also confused about why we have 2-term limits on presidents..."if it's a democracy, people should be able to reelect a president if they want, right?" I told them while that is true, we prefer diversity of ideas to tyranny. They also asked a lot about Native Americans, much to my surprise. Needless to say, it was an engaging discussion and very much enjoyed by me. At the end of my lecture, I shared some photos of growing up in the DC area and my White House internship. On my timeline slide, I told them I empathize with their struggle to learn English, as it is also my second language.
After our lectures, kids played a trivia game and enjoyed being competitive with one another. For example, we quizzed them with questions such as “What are some Christmas traditions?” and “What do the stars and stripes represent on the American flag?” I felt like a true cultural ambassador on this day, because I was quite literally sharing with them American history and government. I could tell students were enlightened to learn that the stars on our flag represent the 50 states of America, and the stripes represent the 13 original colonies. Sometimes the best part about teaching is the moment you see your students enlightened by knowledge.