Gaza City: A Profound Personal Journey


  • Norman John Dean Yew Chung Education Foundation



In 2012 I made two trips into Gaza City to work with staff of the American International School, Gaza. My employing company at the time had a contract with USAID to support the school in its development and progress toward accreditation. My role was to undertake an analysis of the school academic program and develop an improvement plan with the leadership group and board, incorporating pedagogical training for teaching staff that had extremely limited opportunities to external support and expertise due to isolation from the outside world. What I experienced in my visits to Gaza had a profound effect on me as a person and as an educator as I witnessed the passion and commitment of teachers working with students in the most trying of circumstances. The first three days of my initial visit coincided with a serious escalation of hostilities, and observing the school in operation throughout this time was inspiring and terrifying at the same time. My paper will recount my experience working alongside colleagues in challenging facilities, with minimal resources, amid the constant threat of danger. It will tell the story of how teacher commitment and dedication, matched by a strong student desire to learn can create truly inspiring learning communities. I will focus partly on the pedagogical training to assist teachers in sustaining an engaging learning environment in this environment, but also on the centrality of the school culture in a hostile environment where hope and aspiration emerge, and bring hope for the future.

Author Biography

Norman John Dean, Yew Chung Education Foundation

Deputy Director