The Impact of the Arab Spring at an Egyptian University: A Personal Experience
The Egyptian Revolution on January 25—part of the 2011 Arab Spring—and the consequent June 30, 2013 Revolution have marked important turning points in the history of modern Egypt. The curricula and courses offered by Egyptian universities, as well as their academic activities and employment structure, have been greatly affected by these momentous events. Furthermore, the revolutions have opened a wider territory of freedom and emboldened both staff members and students. This paper attempts to answer questions related to the changes that have occurred with regard to the university courses, activities and structures. The paper additionally seeks to explore Egypt's future and the possible ways that its people will defend and retain their dearly earned freedom. The paper is based on the writer’s personal experience as an associate professor in the English Department and in the Faculty of Education at Alexandria University. The paper is further influenced by the writer's experiences as an elected member of the committee that observed—after twenty years of appointment by the National Security Department—the new elections for deans and heads of departments; the same committee also moderated debates among the candidates for these posts. As a teacher, I started a new course on revolutionary literature—which I personally designed and taught—and another on politics and media in collaboration with a colleague. From 2011 onward, I have linked and adjusted the materials of mandatory courses, "American Studies", "18th Century English Novel" and "Contemporary Novel" to our revolutions and to current events. I constructed holistic courses by using the three domains of learning: the cognitive, the affective and the psychomotor. The paper will discuss the way I used Bloom and Krathwohl taxonomies in combination with other methods to cover these domains. This has made the courses more authentic and livelier to the learners, encouraging them, to quote Paulo Freire, "to assume …the role of creative subjects" and creating "a relationship of authentic dialogue" between teacher and students (5). The articles and texts I use, as well as the students' assignments and feedback, will be included in the paper as empirical materials.
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