Classroom Etiquette

The relationship between teachers and students in Jordan is different from that in the United States.  It is often warmer, yet simultaneously more formal. For example, it is not uncommon for instructors to communicate with students via text message in Jordan. When you miss a class due to illness, it is not unusual for your teacher to show concern by inquiring about you or calling you.  This does not mean the teacher is being nosy or that s/he doubts your illness; instead the teacher is demonstrating care for your well-being.

Students in ClassOn the other hand, the classroom is generally a more formal environment in Jordan than in the US. Students should show a high level of respect toward their teachers. Eating in class is NEVER done, and American students routinely offend instructors by eating snacks during class periods.  Food and drink (with the exception of water,) should only be consumed before or after class. It is expected that students will go to class on time, turn cell phones off during class, be well-prepared, and let teachers know if they are sick or will otherwise miss class.

Keep in mind that some behavior that is acceptable in a US university may convey a message of disrespect in Jordan. For example, it is not common practice for Jordanian students to converse freely with, or question the opinions of, their professors. This is both a matter of learning philosophy and classroom etiquette. You may also find that instructors more openly comment on your work and ideas in front of the class, and may encounter situations in which your professors scold or actively disagree with your opinions. This is a common part of the educational philosophy in the Middle East, and should not be taken personally. That said, our instructors are generally accustomed to the American style of higher education.

Students from US universities will likely find less interaction and group discussion in their courses in Amman than they are used to at home. Additionally, instructors may call on students whom they feel are not speaking up, rather than waiting for students to raise their hands.

Year-long students who choose direct-enrollment in UJ classes should keep in mind that they will likely have to work harder than their Jordanian classmates. Jordanian students who chat or read magazines in class will probably be able to cram for finals. They will be able to read large amounts of material during the short reading period at the end of the semester, while your language skills will limit your ability to do this.