In this study, general culture and general education courses within the scope of knowledge categories in undergraduate teacher education programs in Turkey and the USA are comparatively analyzed. The study is a comparative education study and uses a descriptive model. In the study, the general culture - general education courses taught in the elementary teacher education curriculum at the education faculties of Gazi, Ankara, Hacettepe, Anadolu and Marmara Universities in Turkey and Central Florida, Delaware, Utah State and Indiana Universities in the USA were examined. In the study, the document review method was used and the data were analyzed through the document analysis technique. The results of the study reveal that the general culture courses that are compulsory in Turkey were determined by The Council of Higher Education (YÖK) and they are applied in all of the undergraduate programs at education faculties. Yet, there are no explanations about what criteria are taken into consideration while determining these nine compulsory general culture courses. While YÖK puts emphasis on a teacher candidate being trained in a sophisticated manner, the results of the study ascertain that these compulsory courses within undergraduate teacher education programs are not diverse enough to serve the intended purposes. On the other hand, some universities suggest some elective general culture courses within knowledge categories; however, some of these are professional teaching knowledge and major courses. The compulsory courses within the category of general education in the USA are determined by the universities themselves whereas this is done centrally by The Council of Higher Education (YÖK) in Turkey, and the compulsory courses of each university vary in terms of content and number. However, the elective courses are grouped under certain themes and these themes are related to certain disciplines. It is compulsory for students to elect certain amounts of courses within each theme. This blocks electing similar courses under the same themes and directs the students to elect different courses.
Key words: Higher education, teacher education programs, elementary teacher education curriculum, general culture, general culture courses, general education, general education models.
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