Split in Jordan's Student Attitudes Classroom Reactions to English Language Depend on Social Class and Religious Views

By Lamis Andoni, | The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 1992 | Go to article overview

Split in Jordan's Student Attitudes Classroom Reactions to English Language Depend on Social Class and Religious Views


Lamis Andoni,, The Christian Science Monitor


DRESSED in black denim jeans and a checkered shirt, Mai Goussous is not very different, in her carefree attitude and sporty attire, from the pupils who were teasing her in the bustling corridors of the National Orthodox School.

It was break time, and Ms. Goussous was jovial and relaxed with her students. She is equally relaxed, though more serious, in the classroom, where she teaches English language and literature.

"This is my style. I like the pupils to feel comfortable and at ease with me," says the dark-eyed Goussous.

She may be one of the few teachers in Jordan who does not mind if a student leans on the window sill or the radiator while she is teaching. "As long as they are able to concentrate, I really do not mind. If a girl or boy looks bored or is seeking trouble, I just point out calmly that they may leave. More often than not, they do not," she says.

Goussous has been teaching English since she graduated in 1976 from the American University of Beirut, which has produced some of the most prominent professionals and political leaders in the Arab world.

When she started teaching English at a leading state-run school in Amman 13 years ago, she found that the challenge was far greater than simply teaching a foreign language. "There was a feeling of resentment and hostility to the language," she recalls.

In the minds of many pupils in state schools, mostly children from the middle and lower class, English is associated with Western domination.

"Some girls at the schools would hide their surprise when I would display nationalist feelings or awareness of our political problems," she explains. "They associated knowledge of the English language with support for Western governments' policies in the region." English is also linked with Jordan's upper classes and privileged private schools.

Jordan's state schools start teaching English in seventh grade, and by the 12th grade the pupils are expected to compete with their private-school peers when they sit for a General Certificate Exam - the equivalent to the Scholastic Achievement Test in the United States and a major prerequisite for university admission here. English for elites

Later, when Goussous moved to a private school where English is taught alongside Arabic from the first day of school, pupils showed a very different attitude. "They are more relaxed and confident," observes Goussous, who graduated from the prestigious National Orthodox School (NOS), the same school where she now teaches.

At the private schools in Jordan, English is associated with the educational and cultural sophistication sought by the professional and social elite for their children.

While in the state schools Goussous tried to help students overcome their resentment of English, at this private school she feels the challenge is how to expand the awareness of her pupils beyond the narrow scope of their privileged social circle.

"They are almost insulated. They lack awareness of the social problems," she says.

Principal Rima Zananiri, who taught Arabic, history, and social studies at NOS for more than 16 years, notes that the level of political and social awareness has dropped remarkably over the years. She attributes this not only to the fact that most students come from affluent families, but also to the political changes in the region and the shortcomings of the educational system.

She has watched pupils' interest in broader, serious issues drop over the years as the Arab world experienced political and military defeats - the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and finally the Gulf war.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Split in Jordan's Student Attitudes Classroom Reactions to English Language Depend on Social Class and Religious Views
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.