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Saturday
Dec122015

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Iran: History, Education, Language, and More

Sunday, January 31, 2016, 2:00 - 5:00pm

Presenters: Parisa Mehran and Mehrasa Alizadeh

This event is co-sponsored by Kansai SIETAR, and aims to shed light on several facets of Iran in a similar way that Lafcadio Hearn's classic Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, first published in 1894, did for Japan to Westerners. Our time will be divided as follows:

A Brief History of Iran: Language, Culture, and Education
This talk will give a brief overview of the history of Iran (also known as Persia), including various aspects of Iranian culture such as the Persian language and literature, cuisine, and religions. In addition, the history of foreign language education in Iran will be discussed within its greater educational context.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in Iran: Challenges and Solutions
TEFL programs in Iran have been offered for over two decades. However, the quality of these programs has rarely been addressed. Considering PhD programs, service quality is of enormous significance since candidates get prepared for their future careers as prospective faculty members. Based on the findings of a recent study (Mehran & Alizadeh, 2015), there exists a set of challenges which can be categorized as the following: educational (e.g., inaccessibility to scientific databases, inadequate facilities, unprofessionalism, excessive workload), bureaucratic (e.g., entropy, red tape), economic (e.g., insufficient funding), and socio-cultural (e.g., irreverence, authoritarianism, power abuse, favoritism, unethical conducts). In this presentation, the obstacles standing in the way of Iranian academics will be discussed, and some solutions will be suggested.

Let’s Learn Persian: Remembering what it feels like to be a foreign language learner
The presenters will explain the history and writing system of the Persian language along with an overview of Persian calligraphy. Participants will learn some survival phrases and how to write their names. This section will end with a hands-on activity to further expose the audience to the language.

Presentations will be followed by a Persian dinner party at Hafez, an Iranian restaurant located near Yotsubashi Station. Please email us at osakajalt@gmail.com to reserve your place at the party.

Mehrasa Alizadeh is a research student at Takemura Lab, Informedia Education Division, Cybermedia Center, Osaka University. Born in Babol, a city in the north of Iran, Mehrasa moved to Tehran to pursue higher education. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran. She taught English at Iran Language Institute (ILI) for eight years. In 2013, she was offered the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship and moved to Japan the following year. Her main research interests concern computer assisted language learning (CALL) and online course development/quality assessment. Her future research will be focused on developing online Academic English courseware targeting Japanese learners at Osaka University.

 

Parisa Mehran is a research student at Takemura Lab, Informedia Education Division, Cybermedia Center, Osaka University. Born and raised in Tehran, Parisa holds a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), both from Alzahra University, Tehran. Before moving to Japan, she taught English for academic purposes (EAP) at Alzahra University. In 2014, she obtained the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship and is now pursuing further education in Japan. Parisa’s research interests include computer assisted language learning (CALL), teacher education in CALL, and online course design. Her doctoral dissertation will concern the design and implementation of an online course for teaching academic English to Japanese students at Osaka University.

Fee for JALT and SIETAR members: Free
Fee for one-day members: 1,000 yen (500 yen for students)
Contact or Queries: Email contact form

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