ASU’S DIGITAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES IN ZA’ATARI CAMP, JORDAN
ASU | ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITYAuthor: ASU | ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
Since 2017, Arizona State University’s Education for Humanity program has been partnering with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to offer English language courses in a blended format to refugees and host community learners in Jordan. In these three years, the partnership has reached over 1,000 learners across five sites including both camp and urban settings.
One primary tenet of the program is the prioritization of gender parity in program recruitment, a possibility bolstered by the provision of daycare at the NRC Za’atari Camp center. This enables women with family responsibilities to participate in the program and improve their English skills in the computer center with their children supervised by NRC staff nearby. For many, pursuing education without the provision of this service would be an insurmountable barrier.
One such example is the case of Amal Al-Ali, a mother of three, who in 2019 successfully completed the first two levels of the Learn English Now course provided by Arizona State University (ASU). When Amal heard about the ASU course during the outreach conducted by NRC’s Youth Program team, she was reluctant to apply as she lives far away from the training center and must walk to reach it. However, she reconsidered and decided to enroll in the course, a decision further supported by the fact that she had been paying for a remediation English teacher to help her 3 school-aged children. Prior to the course, she was not confident when her children would ask her for help with their English homework. So, she felt this opportunity was a good chance to invest in herself despite the challenge required to juggle home and course requirements.
“ After one month I touched the difference in being able to recognize English language, alphabets, and some vocabulary, it was amazing! The way of teaching from the ASU team is really practical and agile in making the learning happen”. I love falling into mistakes! As it is the way to learn. Once I challenged myself and talked in English with Non-Arabic speaker visitors and my colleagues laughed at me for being bold enough to act as an interpreter with a beginner level.” Amal
Amal is now independently supporting her children in their English homework and has continued to increase her ability to progress through the ASU courses. She looks forward to continuing in the program, serving as an example of how flexible, learner-centered programs can have a tangible impact on the lives of individual families.
*To read other stories from the 2019 CLCC Yearbook, click here.