Syrian Refugees’ Challenges and Problems of Learning and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL): Jordan as an Example

Heba M.N Alefesha, dina Al-Jamal


The study sought to identify the problems and challenges of teaching EFL to Syrian refugees and to identify the solutions to overcome the problems. The study has successfully met the purpose by conducting semi-structured interview with 10 Syrian refugees, one director of resettlement agency, one EFL manager, and one ESL instructors. The thematic analysis results shows that social, education, financial, and institutional are four important challenges of learning and teaching ESL to Syrian refugees in Jordan. Most of the social challenges are derived from the financial crisis, concerns about immediate family and relatives who are still residing in Syrian, childcare, lack of fulfilling basic needs, and mental hazard are severe social challenges for the Syrian refugees in terms of teaching ESL. Most of financial challenges are centralized to afford the regular family expenses, such as food, clothes, and medicine. Most of the challenges of learning EFL in terms of education include poor educational background, uncomfortable with English, lack of knowledge of teachers to deal with Syrian refugees, and lack of motivation. Budget crisis for addressing the demand of additional learning materials, new class environment, scarcity of teachers and volunteers, and poor academic background of Syrian refugees are major challenges under the institutional related challenges. The study recommends that the curriculum of teaching EFL should be designed easily by using sophisticated and learner friendly teaching methods. If necessary, ESL teachers should pay extra attention to teach EFL to Syrian refugees. For providing extra effort, the institution should pay extra compensation to motivate the teacher.

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