Teacher identity formation in the Early Era of the Republic of Turkey

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Turkey

Approval Date: 2015


Supervisor: HANİFE AKAR


With the declaration of the Republic in 1923, Turkey had been directed toward a new route in political, cultural and social domains and education was one of the reformed areas. The newly founded republic was based on nationalistic ideals and reaching the contemporary civilization niveau was the main objective that braces up the entire body of Republican reforms. In order to equip society with nationalistic ideals and elevate them to the contemporary civilization niveau, education functioned as the primary agent that assisted to the founding fathers to realize the abovementioned goal. To sum up, “the Turkish Revolution was more than a political event” and “the entire modernization movement was an experiment in education: how to create new values, new ideologies, new human beings, or new Turks.” Teachers, as a premier professional group concerned with educational issues, were actively reminded of their roles in reshaping the society back then. In that regard, this history research study was designed to analyse teacher identites in the early era of the Republic of Turkey, dated 1921 – 1941. In order to achieve this goal, the data collected from policy documents, selected newspapers and parliamentary discussions were analysed thematically. The results revealed that teachers were envisaged as idealist, devoted, modern, and nation-saving elements of the society. They were expected to remove the ruins of the old Empire, direct the society towards a modern path as well as found a national education system along with carrying their educational responsibilities between the years of 1921 and 1940.