Palestinian schoolscapes in Israel

Muhammad H. Amara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Abstract: The linguistic repertoire of Palestinian citizens in Israel is complex and diverse. Arabic is the language of personal, cultural, and national identity. Hebrew is important for social mobility, higher education, and shared citizenship. English, as a global language, is a window to the wider world (Amara, Policy and teaching English to Palestinian students in Israel: An ecological perspective to language education policies, 2014). As to language education, Arabic is the language of instruction in Palestinian schools. Hebrew is studied as a second language by all the Palestinian students from the second grade on, or even earlier. English is studied as a foreign language from the third grade on, and in many schools even earlier (Amara, Policy and teaching English to Palestinian students in Israel: An ecological perspective to language education policies, 2014; Hebraization in the Palestinian language landscape in Israel, 2015). This study investigates the reflection of the three languages studied in the Palestinian schoolscapes. More specifically, the schoolscapes in six Palestinian high schools located in three towns in the Little Triangle in Israel are studied. The distribution of the languages in the schoolscapes was examined by exploring the functions of signs, distinguishing between informative and symbolic content, and determining the authorship of signs (top-down vs. bottom-up). Altogether 1216 photographs of signs were taken and analyzed. In addition, the ‘tourist guide technique’, developed by Szabó (Journal of Applied Language Studies 9:23–51 2015), was used. The findings reveal that Arabic, Hebrew, and English are used in the schoolscapes of the Palestinian schools in Israel. Arabic is the most ubiquitous language, and Hebrew is also present. While there is evidence of English, its use lags far behind that of the two other languages. The schoolscapes are largely monolingual (mainly Arabic) or bilingual (Arabic-Hebrew). Trilingual signs almost do not exist. Though Palestinian students are trilingual since they learn three languages at school, multilingualism is not truly reflected in their schoolscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalAsian-Pacific Journal of Second and Foreign Language Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).


  • Arabic
  • English
  • Hebrew
  • Israel
  • Palestinian schools
  • Schoolscape


Dive into the research topics of 'Palestinian schoolscapes in Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this