Developing language education in the Gaza Strip: pedagogies of capability and resistance

Imperiale, Maria Grazia (2018) Developing language education in the Gaza Strip: pedagogies of capability and resistance. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The importance of language education, and education more generally, in contexts of protracted crisis and emergencies is widely acknowledged as a potent tool for nurturing the wellbeing of individuals. It is also important in fostering development within afflicted societies. Despite this and an increasing interest in the improvement of the quality of education in these contexts (UNHCR, 2017; UNESCO, 2017; UNRWA, 2011), there has been scant scholarly attention given to language education models that emerge from those vulnerable settings, and to how they may differ from competence approaches developed in peace-time and in contexts of free mobility.

Grounded in the theoretical framework of the capabilities approach for a holistic understanding of language education (Sen, 1999; Nussbaum, 2000; Crosbie, 2014), and motivated by rare empirical research investigating language pedagogies in contexts of pain and pressure, this study explores and co- constructs a grounded model for language education in the context of the siege of the Gaza Strip (Palestine).

The Gaza Strip has been under siege since 2007, when Israel declared it ‘hostile territory’. The siege of Gaza prevents the free circulation of people, goods, and basic materials. As a result, two million people live, many as refugees of long standing, in a condition of ‘forced immobility’ (Stock, 2016) and worsening living conditions. These have been further affected detrimentally by three military operations in the last decade. The siege affects people’s mental and physical wellbeing, and the development of Palestinian society. In addition to the military hegemony, an epistemological hegemony shaped by orientalising tendencies perturbs all narratives about the ‘question of Palestine’ (Said, 1979; 1980; 1986).

The chosen research methodology involves a cycle of critical participatory action research (CPAR), conducted online. The CPAR consists in the development, delivery, observation, analysis and evaluation of a series of specially designed workshops with 13 pre-service English teachers from the Gaza Strip. The aim of the research design is to investigate localized, critical, and creative language pedagogies. The workshop series focuses on the use of creative methods in language education, specifically on the use of Palestinian ‘Arts of Resistance’.

The findings in this thesis demonstrate that: (a) pre-service English teachers value teaching approaches which move beyond competency-driven aims and instead engage with students’ dreams, hopes, values, and wellbeing; (b) the capabilities approach offers a lens through which language pedagogy can be framed within contexts of particular vulnerability; (c) participants value the use of Palestinian arts-based methods, as these enable a pedagogical practice which connects politics and aesthetics; and (d) the online network established during the research encounter shaped and was shaped by materiality and in relationality. A synthesis of these findings provides a metaphorical representation of an ecological language education in the context of pain and pressure.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Language education, Gaza Strip, capabilities approach, English language teaching, critical pedagogy.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
Funder's Name: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Phipps, Professor Alison and Fassetta, Dr. Giovanna
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Dr Maria Grazia Imperiale
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-9109
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 May 2018 08:11
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2018 08:52

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