Supporting Teachers’ Engagement in Pedagogies of Social Justice (STEPS): Collaborative project between five universities in Turkey and the USA

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Sedat Akayoglu
Babürhan Üzüm
Bedrettin Yazan


            This paper reports the findings of a research project titled Supporting Teachers’ Engagement in Pedagogies of Social Justice (STEPS), in which pre-service teachers from five universities and in-service teachers from Turkey and the US participated in a six-week-long virtual exchange project. The main objective of the study was to promote social justice-informed pedagogies in K-12 schools through professional development and conversations between pre-service and in-service teachers from two countries. The study addressed the following research question: How does a six-week virtual exchange project influence in-service and pre-service teachers’ social justice orientation? For this purpose, we collected quantitative data through a questionnaire based on social justice standards developed by a group of researchers called “Learning for Justice”. Participants completed this questionnaire before and after their participation in the project. Additionally, we asked the participants to write a reflection post at the end of the project regarding its impact, and we treated their posts as qualitative data. At the end of the analysis, we found that the mean scores of the post-test results were significantly higher than those of the pre-test results, which indicated that the project changed the perspectives of the participants in a positive way. Furthermore, analyzing the qualitative data, we found four recurring themes: a) learning through sharing and working in collaboration, b) noticing common concerns with other educators, c) self-awareness and self-evaluation, and d) promise for taking action.


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Akayoglu, S., Üzüm, B., & Yazan, B. (2022). Supporting Teachers’ Engagement in Pedagogies of Social Justice (STEPS): Collaborative project between five universities in Turkey and the USA. Focus on ELT Journal, 4(1), 7–27.
Author Biographies

Babürhan Üzüm, Sam Houston State University

He is an Associate Professor of Bilingual Education and ESL at the School of Teaching and Learning at Sam Houston State University. His research interests include intercultural communication, computer mediated communication, telecollaboration, language teacher education, and language teacher identity development. In addition, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in second language assessment, sheltered instruction in K12 settings, and teaching second language writing.

Bedrettin Yazan, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Bedrettin Yazan is an Assistant Professor of Educational Linguistics in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. His research is focused on language teacher learning and identity, language policy and planning, world Englishes, and collaboration between ESL and content teachers.


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