What Next: A Frank Discussion of Jordan's Education Needs
Perhaps the most consistent comment was that while many Jordanian teachers are proficient in the mechanics of English—that is, in English learned from textbooks—they don’t get a chance to use the language with native speakers. As a result, they feel that their accents are poor and their cultural understanding remains thin.
“We’re getting information and learning how to apply it,” said one Jordanian teacher. “Here we’ve become more confident, we can speak together fluently, and we can speak to you.”
The Jordanians also lamented the dearth of certificate programs in
Not having certificate programs “creates a motivation problem because Jordanian teachers already have so much to do,” said another. “There is no incentive to do the extra work. But a certificate, especially associated with a prestigious institution, is something that people will see differently.”
And still another issue: There appears to be little focus in Jordan on content-based language instruction—that is, on teacher education courses that train teachers to teach math, science or other disciplines in English, as opposed to only teaching the English language as a subject unto itself with little linkage to what students are learning in their other classes.
While everyone acknowledged that TC and
One visiting teacher talked about her interest in starting an electronic Web-based community that would allow Jordanian and American educators and students alike to share observations about important cultural differences that affect learning. And Fuhrman envisioned the eventual creation of “sister school” relationships between
“We thought when we came here that Queen Rania had sent us on a long trip,” said one teacher. “We understand now that this is just the first step in a much longer journey.”
Published Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2007