Investigating English language teachers' practices, identities and agency in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in Iraq

Abdullah, Ahmed Abduladheem (2019) Investigating English language teachers' practices, identities and agency in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in Iraq. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In 2014, a new national CLT-based English language curriculum was introduced in Iraq for the purpose of boosting English language teaching and learning in elementary and secondary schools. However, on the same year of introducing the curriculum, 2014, a group of Islamic extremists (ISIS) started a series of deadly attacks on many cities in Iraq causing a massive internal displacement to take place. In less than a year, millions of Iraqi people were displaced and were scattered over many other ISIS-free cities in Iraq. While most of the displaced people could afford living expenses including rent, transportation and healthcare, others could not and went homeless. Consequently, a number of internally displaced person (IDP) camps were established as a temporary settlement to house the hundreds of thousands of homeless IDPs.
Given the fact that those IDP camps were established outside the main cities, and thus were located at a considerable distance from schools, one elementary and one secondary school were opened within many of these camps to encourage IDPs to send their children to schools. These schools were made of tents, and at best caravans. Schools inside IDP camps were under a severe shortage of teaching and learning resources. Moreover, the average teacher-students ratio in some of these schools exceeded 1:65. Hence, a complex set of difficulties characterized teaching and learning inside camp schools.
The present study set out to investigate the impact of the new teaching context on English language teachers in relation to their implementation of the new curriculum, their identities and the achievement of their agency. Classroom observations and semi-structured interviews with camp school English language teachers were conducted to collect the research data. Cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), agency theory and Identity Theory were used as lenses through which data were analyzed and discussed.
The findings obtained from this research indicate that due to many contextual factors, traditional methods of teaching were strictly followed in camp schools.

While a new English language curriculum was introduced to bring about change to teachers’ daily classroom practices, teachers carried on with their old teacher-centered transmission-oriented mode of teaching. Teacher agency was also found to be limited as teachers in camp schools were constrained more than enabled. The new teaching context was found to be paralyzing to many forms of teaching practices and was therefore impeding teachers from building on their individual capacities. Lastly, due to the impact of the new teaching context, camp school teachers shifted their traditional teaching role identity and added a new caring one. In other words, camp school teachers changed the meanings or goals that generally define English language teachers’ role in Iraq.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by funding from the Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq (HCED).
Keywords: Teachers' agency, teachers' practices, teachers' identities, IDP camps.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LA History of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Pedagogy Policy and Practice
Supervisor's Name: McKinney, Prof. Stephen and Hirsu, Dr. Lavinia and McAdam, Ms. Julie
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Mr. Ahmed Abduladheem Abdullah
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-74299
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2019 15:05
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2020 13:34
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.74299

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