The Teachers of Jordan’s Za`atari Refugee Camp: A Study of Pre-Service Teacher Preparation, Pedagogy, and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
Koch, Katherine E.
- Since the Syrian crisis broke out in 2011, the population of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s Za`atari refugee camp has grown to house over 80,000 Syrian refugees. With over 55% of this population under the age of 18, both Jordanian and international organizations are struggling to provide the children of Za`atari with quality education. The question remains, however, what characterizes quality ... read moreeducation in the context of a refugee camp? International bodies such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies provide standards for teacher training and pedagogy that highlight the importance of psychosocial support in refugee classrooms. Drawing from these standards and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I determine that didactic pedagogy is ineffective in refugee education; studies in social neuroscience indicate that children who are affected by instability, high-stress environments, and forced displacement require relationship-centered, dialogical learning environments to learn effectively. Making use of official documents and reports, studies of Jordan’s education system, and interviews with professionals working in Za`atari camp’s education sector, I evaluate the extent to which Freire’s model of problem-posing education is present within Za`atari camp. Through this study, it is clear that, due to infrastructural and systematic obstacles, teachers in Za`atari’s formal education sector rely on authoritarian teaching methods and are not prepared to implement Freirean techniques in the classroom; until these obstacles are addressed, the provision of truly effective education will remain relegated to the sector of informal education.read less