Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number4   December 2021                                 Pp.302- 316

 Full Paper PDF   


 A Sociomaterial Perspective of the Challenges of Implementing the Communicative
Approach in Saudi State Schools

Rajaa Mahmoud Fallatah
Department of Curriculums and Instructions, College of Education
Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia


Received:  9/30/2021                 Accepted:11/15/2021                            Published:12/15/2021

Despite its dominance in the field of teaching English as a second/foreign language, the implementation of the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach continues to be challenging and problematic. A similar set of constraints – including but not limited to challenges related to educational cultures, contextual and conceptual factors, and lack of authentic materials and facilities – have been reported as factors hindering CLT implementations in many contexts. Language teaching and learning materials and facilities are crucial elements that have been found to affect communicative language teaching implementation. However, the issue of how those material elements can affect CLT implementation has rarely been the focus of research in CLT implementation studies. In this paper, the researcher examines the effect of language teaching and learning materials on teachers’ ability to teach communicatively. Thus, informed by sociomateriality this paper attends to a gap in the literature about how material elements of the curriculum hinder the implementation of the communicative language teaching approach in the Saudi context. The data examined in this study were collected through classroom observations and semi-structured interviews. The analysis of the findings indicated that material elements in the curriculum exerted agency and power, hindering teachers’ ability to teach communicatively and learners’ ability to improve their learning experiences. The report concludes with practical implications related to the complexity of curriculum development and implementation and the emergent nature of such processes as webs of entangled human/nonhuman relations that give rise to education.
Keywords: Actor-network theory, communicative language teaching approach, complexity theory,
curriculum development, language teaching materials, sociomateriality

Cite as  Fallatah, R. M.(2021). A Sociomaterial Perspective of the Challenges of Implementing the  Communicative Approach in
Saudi State Schools.  Arab World English Journal, 12 (4) 302- 316.


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Received: 9/30/2021
Accepted: 11/15/2021
Published: 12/15/2021    

Rajaa Mahmoud Fallatah is currently a lecturer in the Department of curriculums and Instructions at the College of Education at Umm Al-Qura University. Her research interests include curriculum development in TESOL, language teacher education, and language education policies. ORCiD: