Problem Statement: Having appeared in the 60s, the Communicative Approach still keeps its popularity in language teaching contexts. There is almost no doubt that its application varies depending on the teacher‘s understanding of the methodology. Likewise, some studies on the application of the Communicative Approach in Turkey have revealed that foreign language teaching is not performed in a communicative way due to some challenges and problems.
Purpose of the Study: This paper aims to depict the use of the Communicative Approach in 9th grade classes as well as the opinions of the teachers and students on its implementation.
Method: This is a qualitative study since it aims to describe behaviors by looking at patterns to emerge in order to learn how they happen as well as by interpreting those patterns so as to find out why they happen in that particular way. The students and teachers of two 9th grade classes in 2012-2013 academic year were observed for one hour per week in a semester. The data were collected via COLT (Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching) observation scheme and the interview questions. The data from the observation scheme were analyzed by proportion calculations while a content analysis was performed with the interview data. The coding for the observations and transcriptions for the interviews were done more than once at different times to check consistency and to achieve reliability and validity.
Findings: The findings have showed that the application of the Communicative Approach highly varies according to the teacher and the teaching context. When compared, the language learning context at the Anatolian high school is much more communicative than the one at the general high school. Still, it is not the ideal communicative classroom depicted in the text of the national curriculum. It has also been found that although the learners have similar attitudes, beliefs and expectations about their language learning, they do not receive the same teaching practices.
Conclusion and Recommendations: In order to adopt the communicative approach successfully in EFL countries like Turkey, the change and the employment should be steady and the countries‘ particular EFL contexts and the teachers‘ perceptions of an innovation as well as students‘ previous educational habits should be considered. Also, continuous teacher training and teacher development opportunities focusing on real classroom applications, especially within the crucial first few years of the innovation period are needed to support the application of any innovation in a curriculum.
Keywords: English language teaching, learner beliefs, teacher beliefs, classroom observation.