Fatima Rocchi-Whitehead

MA Education TEFL dissertation prize winner 2016

Fatima Rocchi-Whitehead

A Micro-Ethnography of the Use of CLT in Higher Education in Turkey

I was very surprised and happy to hear about the TEFL Dissertation Prize. I have enjoyed the MA TEFL a great deal and I feel honoured to have had the privilege to work with such great tutors. This award enhances my confidence to pursue PhD studies and motivates me to continue exploring research in this field. I wish to extend my gratitude to my supervisor and all our brilliant tutors, who all inspired me to develop my vision in teaching and motivated me to become passionate about research and educational change. The University of Birmingham will always occupy a special place in my heart.


The present paper discusses a micro-ethnographic study carried out to explore the extent of CLT approaches employed in two preparatory programmes in universities in Turkey. The focus of the study reflects trends in recent research arguing for more communicative approaches in Turkish foreign language education, and previous initiatives of the local Ministry of Education to render English teaching more communicative. Triangulation of data sources was utilized, in order to gain multiple perspectives on views of CLT of teachers and students. A holistic approach was adopted, combining CLT views and practices of both foreign and local English teachers. The study concluded that, although teacher training and assessment still pose an obstacle to the implementation of more communicative teaching methods, it appears that students are responding well to employed CLT approaches and prefer them to traditional methods. Individual institutional goals, types of assessment, teacher beliefs and cultural perceptions on the role of English education and ELT methodology in Turkey, were identified as some of the factors that promote or hinder the use of CLT approaches in the classroom. Suggestions for improved practice include blending communicative approaches with existing traditional methods and developing EFL-aware programmes in terms of teacher training and curriculum development.