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The study of the language curriculum especially for second/third or foreign language rarely gains the attention from researchers. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the process of the implementation of the taught curriculum in the communicative Mandarin class for non-native speakers of Mandarin at a Malaysian university. In this study, the two concepts: the instructional system and the learning milieu from the illuminative approach are applied. Three Mandarin lecturers participated in the study. Qualitative protocols such as classroom observations, interviews, field notes and course documents are used as data sources for the study. The findings showed that there was little engagement of students in conversations as mentioned in the curriculum documents. The instructional process was teacher-centered. Instead of implementing active learning activities, the lecturer focus was providing information and knowledge in Mandarin class. The study concluded that the nature of instructional process is determined by lecturers’ beliefs and practices, classroom facilities and the learning environment.