Letonya'nın saygın haber portallarından Delfi, kurucumuz N.Nur Sevenler ile kapsamlı bir röportaj gerçekleştirdi.
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First maybe you can tell litlle about yourself - where you work, where you studied, live etc.
First, let me express my sincere thanks to you for having this interview with me. I am highly honoured.
I am Nur Sevenler. I have graduated from English Language and Literature Department at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey. As soon as I was graduated from the university I pursued my passion to become a teacher and received my teaching certificate from Marmara University, Istanbul.
Then, I started my career as an English teacher in 1990. In the beginning I worked at different Anatolian High Schools, which were all state schools. In these schools English was one of the main subjects and children had to study English for a year before they would start the secondary school. When I moved to Ankara, the capital city, I got a shift to another Anatolian High School, however my teaching hours were not adequate for me to feed my passion for teaching. So I felt I should be more active and applied for being an English instructor at Bilkent University, which is a private university. After passing the exams, I started teaching there. I was lucky because they were offering the new comers The Teaching Certificate for Overseas Teachers course for a year. Therefore, the first year I was both a teacher and a student at this university, which was an invaluable chance for me to improve my teaching skills. Later I moved to Izmir and worked at Isıkkent Egitim Kampusu (a private school) where I had a chance to attend a lot of trainings on education for kindergarten and primary school students conducted by both domestic and foreign trainers. While bringing my children up, I had to give a partial break in my career. I worked part time in Turkish American Association English Course teaching to adults and in the prep school at Ege University.
How do you decide to become a teacher? Do you done also something else or teaching is your passion? Are you still teacher?
Certainly teaching is my very big passion. I believe education is an essential foundation of a country. It is something magical, you are building up, shaping the future through your students and therefore it is very important, though not very easy. I love children a lot. So the combination of these ideas helped me to decide on the right profession for myself.
In 2012 together with a group of educators I set up a training programme called Game-Based Learning Programme using the scientific researches and academic documents. Now besides choosing and importing the outstanding games, we are training mostly teachers for the effective application of the board games in education. As I have to focus on the sustainable development of my business I am no longer an official teacher at schools. Yet I should say that my current profession entails all the important attributes of education, both from the learning and teaching perspective.
How it happended, that you were teaching in primary school and university? Is it hard to switch from younger to older kids?
Actually, I didn’t find this difficult as I am interested in communication. The younger the students are the more active you must be. Each group has its own dynamics and enjoyment. When you adjust your teaching style to your group it is not difficult to work with different ages. Also, this kind of work helped me to learn a lot about teaching.
I believe that the core of teaching lies in the ability of the teacher to open up the minds of the students, to encourage them to be curious, to explore and become continuous learners regardless of their ages.
Is a board games another passion of yours? How did it start?
While I was growing, there was a limited range of board games in Turkey. However, whenever there is a chance to play these games I never missed one. I really love playing games and the atmosphere it creates. While teaching I was trying to use the game factor and surprises to make the learning more fun.
When and how did you decided to found anne-mind games? Tell me about it little more.
My husband is an industrial engineer and specialized on computer systems. He wanted to do something different from his profession. While searching the sectors he visited a fair and saw some high quality toys. He bought a toy for our son there. Then he visited the Nurnberg fair. This subject attracted my attention too. Then we decided to set up anne in 2007. It was home office with two person team, my husband and me, and our business model was internet sale. We were also visiting schools and presenting the sample products. At the beginning we were buying especially educational products from other importers in Turkey. Six months later we felt we should have a showroom to reach more people. We hired a small shop in a shopping center. We were going to test if we could achieve something original on the market. While we were examining the catalogues and visiting the Toy Fair in Nurnberg we discovered the magical world of the board games and specialized on mind challenging games.
What do you think is the best in playing board games? How they affect us?
First of all, you socialize in the family, among friends and can make new friends. This affects us positively. Coming together and sharing some valuable time in a fun way strengthen the relationships and communication while developing certain thinking skills. Briefly it makes us happy and feel young.
Why it is important to play board games?
Board games bring generations together. You discover yourself and your friends better. They sharpen your thinking skills. All ages need them. When you get older, you need to keep your skills more active as they start to weaken. Board games are the fun way of keeping your skills in good condition.
You said, that board games is fun and can be implemented in the curriculum. Why do you think so?
Mind games lesson was implemented in the curriculum in 2012 in Turkey. However, the teachers didn’t have enough sources. So in 2013 we created the Game-Based Learning Programme based on the scientific researches and academic documents with a group of teachers and a psychologist. Our main aim was to ensure that mind games are presented properly and applied systematically by education institutions. For this, we provide for a high level understanding of mind games to teachers and educators as a tool to help children improve their higher order thinking abilities, problem solving strategies as well as social and emotional skills.
We have had very positive feedback from the participants so far. In a very rigid educational system both teachers and students are in a hurry to cover all of the topics. Most of the time the students do not have enough time to digest the new knowledge and make connections among the pieces of information. However, with the application of Game-Based Learning Programme systematically, the students of the participants have started to realize their thinking skills and made progress while having fun.
If a child’s basic skills are strong he/she can continue building up his/her higher order skills easier by analysing the information, thinking critically and being creative. Using board games is more effective and fun while building up the basic skills in young children and also discovering the strengths and weaknesses of students in all levels.
Some schools in Turkey have mind games rooms where classes have a lesson once or twice a week. I call it rescue room which is full of games and fun. Students can improve their thinking skills, problem solving strategies and social/emotional skills in a stress free atmosphere while playing and having fun. To achieve this, the system should be implemented very carefully and systematically.
Do you have other intereseting hobbies?
I love watching films, swimming and cooking. I am interested in organic food. I make apple vinegar, yogurt and bread at home. I try to do yoga twice a week. This year I started to attend folk dance course which I love very much.
Maybe you want to tell me something else, that I didnt ask? I would be happy to hear.
As a company we sponsor and /or guide schools in organizing tournaments. One of them is a national strategy games tournament. Also, we organize a playing board game day once a month for all ages in the shopping mall where we have our shop. So far a lot of projects for schools have been activated using our range.
Regarding to Game-Based Learning programme, at the end of two days everybody is inspired by the system and get a broader vision for his/her life.