EFL Teaching and Learning Practices in the Rohingya Classroom: A Case Study

Leena K.V. Sankaran, Malini Ganapathy, Debbita Tan Ai Lin


This study aims to explore the teaching and learning of English in the Rohingya classroom, specifically from teachers’ and students’ perspectives. Originally from Myanmar, hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas were forced to flee the country from mass violence and persecution in search of a new life that would promise them safety, security and basic human rights – conditions that remain elusive to a vast majority of Rohingya refugees. Denied access to free healthcare and education, many Rohingya refugee children attend informal classes in community-run learning centres with the help of UNHCR and local NGOs or in madrasah (the Arabic word for any educational institution), either secular or religious. For this study, a descriptive research design was used and data was collected through a combination of interviews, diary-writing, field notes, questionnaires and in-class observations. The findings revealed that conventional teaching and learning approaches were ineffective in the Rohingya classroom due to the unique composition of students of varying ages, learning abilities and knowledge levels all grouped in one class. It also found peer-learning to be an effective learning tool as the Rohingya children responded well to group activities, interacting actively with and learning from their peers. This study is significant in identifying a need for an English language curriculum incorporating approaches and techniques that teachers can use to create more meaningful teaching and learning activities that can accommodate the diversity and inclusiveness found in the Rohingya classroom.


EFL, Rohingya Children, Refugee Education, Teacher Perspectives, Student Perspectives, Case Study

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.8n.2p.126


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