One of my biggest grievances living in Turkey is the observation that nobody seems to trust anybody else. For this reason it’s very hard to meet people outside of established social networks and friendships tend to be very shallow unless huge amounts of time and effort are put into breaking down barriers. One of the biggest reliefs of traveling outside of Turkey is often the renewed ability to simply walk up to people and be open (here it’s important to note there is a chasm of difference between attitudes towards strangers who are visiting Turkey and those actually living here). Sadly, living here often develops high levels of distrust.
As this has always been an observation I’ve found to be quite accurate, I was very interested to come across an actual study that said the same thing, specifically in the context of Turkish education. The post and link to the study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) can be found here at Istanbul Notes.
The study sites that the degree of interpersonal trust ranges from 16-12% in upper levels of education and that distrust actually increases as education increases. Living here, it’s something I do not find surprising at all, but it is an incredibly worrying statistic.
It’s clear from this cultural context that building trust in your classroom is probably one of the single most important things you can do. Ideas to accomplish this can be found linked at the bottom of this page.
I could go into multiple essays on the reasons behind this, but I’d be more interested in hearing from the Turkish readers of this blog or from foreign teachers teaching here. Why do you believe this is the case and what can be done to change the trend (at least in our classrooms)?