The Applicability of learner-centered education in refugee settings

The Syrian refugee teachers’ case study


  • Iman Sharif University of Glasgow (UK)


Syrian refugees, quality education, good pedagogy, INEE, learner-centered education


Displacing the largest number of refugees in recent time is one of the devastating impacts of the Syrian war. Turkey hosts over 3.6 million Syrian refugees. Almost half of them are children in the preschool or primary school stage. Because refugee children are five times more likely to miss schooling than non-refugee children, the provision of high-quality education in refugee settings is emphasized in the literature, as it offers children and their community protection, security, social cohesion, and it also prevents conflicts. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to report some key findings of a qualitative study that primarily examined Syrian refugee teachers’ perceptions of quality education and their experiences of pedagogical change, which included adoption of more learner-centered practices in line with the standards set by the International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), an organization that guides the delivery of quality education in emergencies. This paper explores teachers’ beliefs about learning, their education, training, and their perceptions of learner-centered education (LCE) and the implementation of LCE in an urban Syrian refugee school in Turkey. In addition, the paper investigates teachers’ vision of good pedagogy within their realities and capacities. The findings from this study showed complex contextual influences affecting the educational provision for Syrian refugees and LCE implementation challenges. A key implication that arises from this study relates to the suitability of LCE as “best practice” in the refugee context. 

Author Biography

Iman Sharif, University of Glasgow (UK)

Iman Sharif is an associate tutor at the University of Glasgow. She received a Ph.D. in education from the University of Glasgow in 2020. Her doctoral research focused on understanding the quality of the educational provision for Syrian refugee children in Turkey and the challenges of pedagogical change to learner-centered education. Her primary research interests lie in the areas of pedagogy and refugee education.