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Crossing the Chasm to Pick Up the Gauntlet: Higher Education and Christian Arab Women in the North of Israel.

Touval, Alison (2018) Crossing the Chasm to Pick Up the Gauntlet: Higher Education and Christian Arab Women in the North of Israel. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis investigated the higher education experiences of Christian Arab women from the north of Israel. For some, it is their first multicultural educational experience. Israel has a complex socio-political history, and a mixed race higher education policy is bold, as Arabs and Jews are mostly segregated educationally until age eighteen. There is scant research on Christian Arab women in Israel and this study focuses on their higher education experiences as related to socio-cultural, historical, political, and religious contexts. A feminist approach gives them a respectful and legitimate platform from which to speak and thematic analysis helps create a more comprehensive picture of their aspirations, and the practical realities and implications of the multi-dimensional perspective of higher education. Data was collected from twelve (student) participants using semi-structured interviews. The participants understood the academic experience as one expected by family and cultural group, and believed that financial and social empowerment would result. Arabic has relative unimportance in Israel, and this study finds that the participants' Hebrew literacy was not strong, constraining most effective studying practices. Recommendations include changing emphases within schools, society, and higher education to offer greater opportunities regarding language development and social interactions. Identity was affiliated to religion and Christianity had a defining role in the lives of participants. Higher education as part of a Jewish culture was perceived as developmentally liberating and using the experience to identify personal qualities and challenges was acknowledged. Its significance in the social and cultural fabric of Israel indicates the importance of optimising the experience for all students. An underrepresented and involuntary minority status did not affect participants' desire to use to their advantage a structure which offers capitals to augment lifestyle choices. A unified future was the only reasonable outcome for citizens of Israel in which the participants' saw themselves as significant actors.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Alison Touval
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2018 13:35
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2018 13:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21648

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