Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Beyond Marginalized Fragmentation: Technology and Innovation in English-Language Learning in Palestinian HEIs

Aida Bakeer, Al Quds Open University (Palestinian Territory, Occupied)

Alan Bruce, Universal Learning Systems (Ireland)


Advanced ICT and digital learning platforms are not just wonders of modern technology. They exist in contexts of real human relationships, mirror prevailing systems of power and control and extend the possibility of transformative educational practice if deployed well. This paper examines the critical need for innovation in teaching and learning English in the exceptionally complex conditions of Palestine. For socio-political reasons, English language learning in Palestine is fraught with challenges and difficulties. The ineffectiveness of traditional lectures, outdated curricula, psychological factors, and teacher centered classrooms are the norm. Academics struggle to communicate and interact with international peers. The exchange of knowledge, skills and culture with others poses huge problems for Palestinian institutions. ICT supported English language teaching can create a new dynamism regarding quality education by encouraging local HEIs to update methodologies, strategies and contents. The occupation in Palestine impacts the movement of people, divides the territory geographically and fragments social relations. This has led to inequitable access to quality education for all students in Palestine. This paper describes the TEFL-ePAL capacity building project funded by the EU.  This builds on the results of Emancipatory Action Research on 21st century skills initiated in 2015. This confirmed that teachers felt insufficiently motivated, with inadequate ICT resources and developmental programs. The results accorded with the findings of the policy paper on Teacher Education Improvement Project funded by the World Bank, and developing inclusion for global education [UNESCO, 2005]. Palestinian educators are now striving to use advanced technologies and new trends that focus on principles of personalized-differentiated learning, student-centered instruction, and constructivism. There is the wider issue to adapt technology to facilitate student engagement and participation, and allow students to be more interactive inside the class and have wider opportunities that “can help English language learners further develop their academic language proficiency and confidence in using the language”. The wider objective of this project is to implement initiatives that develop learners' linguistic capacity, skills, and English language excellence, to bridge educational and socio-political gaps, enhance modernization, internationalization and lifelong learning. To achieve this goal, European and Palestinian partners will share their knowledge, experience and expertise, and will support the process of developing and implementing new curricula to be taught in innovative approaches. Internationalizing the context and contents of Palestinian English-language learning is but one step in a process to circumvent the fragmentation and underdevelopment of Palestinian educational institutions as they try to engage with the wider world as equal players.     

Keywords: Technology; TEFL; Innovation; Palestine.

[1] Marshall, H., & DeCapua, A. (2013). Making the transition to classroom success: Culturally responsive teaching for struggling language learners. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan press.
[2] Unesco 2005: Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

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