Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number.4   December 2021                                   Pp.259-278

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Going beyond the Text: Interactional Competence in Reading Comprehension Class

Sabria Jawhar
Department of English, College of Science and Health Professions, King Saud bin Abdulaziz
University for Health Sciences & King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Jeddah,
Saudi Arabia. Correspondent Author:

Sajjadllah Alhawsawi
Department of English, College of Science and Health Professions, King Saud bin Abdulaziz
University for Health Sciences & King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia

Steve Walsh
School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle
upon Tyne United Kingdom


.Received: 7/24/2021               Accepted: 11/4/2021              Published: 12/15/2021


Abstract :                                                                    

Drawing on the principles underlying conversation analysis (CA), this paper is a single case analysis of interaction in an English as a foreign language (EFL) reading comprehension classroom in Saudi Arabia. It looks at learning from a sociocultural perspective and uses constructs from this theoretical perspective. It focuses on Classroom Interactional Competence (CIC) (Walsh, 2013), showing classroom interaction features that are considered CIC. The paper reflects how an understanding of the concept can lead to more dialogic, engaged learning environments. The paper also connects CIC to teachers’ ability to manipulate simple classroom interactional resources to make the teaching process more effective. The paper demonstrates how teachers can induce CIC by utilizing interactional techniques, such as relaxing the mechanism and speed through which turns are taken or given, use of active listenership devices, extending wait time, and use of open-ended questions to expand topics under development. The paper argues that those techniques will help teachers, as evidenced from the cited examples, further enhance classroom participation so that it is convergent with their pedagogical goals. Finally, the paper has pedagogical implementations as it sheds light on techniques that help promote classroom interaction as an indication of learning among students with limited linguistic resources.
Keywords: conversation analysis, classroom interactional competence, EFL, higher education, reading comprehension

Cite as:  Jawhar, S., Alhawsawi, S., & Walsh. S. (2021). Going beyond the Text: Interactional Competence in Reading Comprehension Class.  Arab World English Journal, 12 (4) 259-278.


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Received: 7/24/2021 
Accepted: 11/4/2021 
Published: 12/15/2021 

Dr. Sabria Jawhar is an assistant professor of applied and educational linguistics at KSAU-HS. Dr. Jawhar is a graduate of Newcastle University, UK. She is interested in all aspects of classroom discourse, assessment and use of technology in HE. However, her main focus is on talk-in-interaction. Corpus linguistics, especially spoken corpora, is another area of her interest. 1799-8888

Prof. Steve Walsh is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Newcastle University, UK, where he was, until recently, Head of Department. His research interests include classroom discourse, teacher development, second language teacher education, and professional communication. He has published 10 books and more than 100 research papers.

Dr Sajjadllah Alhawsawi is an assistant professor of English as Foreign Language at KSAU-HS. Dr Alhawsawi holds a PhD in education from School of Education and Social work, University of Sussex, UK. Dr Alhawsawi’s research interest includes programme evaluation, teacher education, higher education, instructional design, sociology of education and pedagogical use of ICT university education. n.