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دوشنبه 5/12/1387 - 18:22 -0 تشکر 93066
English in Public Schools

Hi every body! Due to its importance, I’d like to introduce a topic which is quite familiar to you, I think, but has not been discussed adequately. Why can’t Iranian students speak English although they are taught English nearly six years before they get their diploma? What’s wrong, you believe? And, what should be done in this regard?

صبح امید

دوشنبه 5/12/1387 - 23:20 - 0 تشکر 93172

Hello and thanks for opening this useful discussion.

So many times when I’ve been meeting people from other countries (online or in person) -whose first languages are not English- speaking English fluently i thought to myself what really went wrong for us Iranian that after that English education workload we have passed through, as you said, it is not yet an acceptable level of proficiency comparing to other nations.

I have some clues which are not necessarily the whole, but at least could be partly explaining what the troubles are; now let me post them one by one gradually:


First of all, our language is totally different from English, when it comes to grammar, sentence structures and even the script! You know, western people sometimes get shocked seeing us writing from right to left! But this is not the case for many countries like European nations who have a very similar language to English, and even the way they express their feelings are so alike. Their alphabets (and therefore whole letters, voices and many wolves) are exactly the same as English or in the worst case, slightly different. Many linguists believe that a number of western languages are in fact some variants of another language which was the common route for English as well. Now, when you look at eastern countries, China or Japan for example, people from this part of the world whose languages have nothing to do with English, are at a lower English command compared to Iranians, both written and spoken. So this is the main reason I suppose, our mother tongue -the lovely Persian- is faraway from English, making it problematic for us to straightforwardly get skilled in it .

چهارشنبه 7/12/1387 - 16:27 - 0 تشکر 93469

Hello everybody

Thank you dear grzarban for such a topic that you have started and thank you dear researcher for the first clue that you mentioned, actually hardly ever did I think about such a reason. GREAT.

You are right; Persian language is considerably different from English language which we are going to get skilled in it.

But I’m going to put forward some other reasons to talk about. In my opinion our bad training in this respect mostly originates from our wrong educational system. You know, our English books, our English teachers, our facilities in this case are not in a way that they should be.

Our books have been written by Iranian professors, with Iranian culture mixed to them, as you know when you want to learn a language you should learn about the culture of people that are speaking with it, but you hardly can see such things in our English books.

I have so much to tell in this case so, I am looking forward to being provided with your ideas and then will come to talk.

پنج شنبه 8/12/1387 - 11:55 - 0 تشکر 93650

Thanks for the time you allocate to this topic. I’m really glad to read these precious comments. I look forward to read more opinions. I believe a sum up of these discussions can have the potential of introducing useful hints both for the researchers and those who are interested.

صبح امید

يکشنبه 11/12/1387 - 4:39 - 0 تشکر 94386

I strongly agree with my friend RO BE ASEMAN concerning the problems of Iranian educational system for English teaching and i was going to mention it as the second element making our students to be where we are now.

So you indicated to second reason as well, let me go for third one:

3- Media

 We don"t enjoy international channels and movies in English in Iran while other countries do.
In many countries movies and TV shows on air are all in English and they have got subtitles in local language which makes people to have English as a daily habit.

دوشنبه 12/12/1387 - 23:5 - 0 تشکر 94946

Returning again to what dear Roo Be Aseman has mentioned, I should like to add here as an example that unfortunately the language of instruction in most Iranian public schools is Farsi. And, this factor prevents efficient learning in the classroom because students will lose an effective opportunity to practice both their listening and speaking in the target language. The question why teachers do this is in itself quite a considerable one that needs investigation though some reasons may have been pointed to by researchers, scholars, and even teachers themselves. It seems that the issue discussed here still needs more attention

صبح امید

چهارشنبه 14/12/1387 - 0:23 - 0 تشکر 95227

Due to its importance dear grzarban indicated, I would add one more hint for the current issue so that we can list them all hereafter:

4- Cultural differences

English is a western language and is accordingly assigned to a western lifestyle. Specifically speaking, for an eastern person including Iranians there are numerous western culture related materials which simply do not make sense, on the other hand; so many eastern cultural elements are highly impossible to be reflected in a tangible way to deliver their message to a western person. Let me make it clear with some examples, for the first category, consider these words: Aperitif, Cheers, Tax Office, Talk Show which there are no equivalent in our language, meaningful enough to cover the whole meaning of them, while it is not about lacking of words or phrases, but rather about the difference in cultures and lifestyles which make it troublesome to easily convert to an eastern (more accurately middle-eastern) language, whilst for the second category you can think about “Iranian compliments” and special greetings regarding them and a little knowledge of western culture would easily say such a hard time an interpreter will have translating those “technical” terms to English. Yet again this is the case for Iranians who are about to express a special feel or share a specific moment with someone whose language is not Persian and then the English is the only communication medium. As you would agree this is another reason why it does not look straightforward to properly learn English for Iranians.

جمعه 16/12/1387 - 12:17 - 0 تشکر 95896

I‘m surprised why other friends don’t take part in the discussion. They are not perhaps interested in it. I introduced the topic just as a remedy to practice our English. We can shed lights on the problem as well, of course. So, I invite all dear users to express their views no matter in what level of English they are. Participating in such discussions, I believe, plays a significant role in improving writing which is, as you know, one of the basic skills of language.

صبح امید

سه شنبه 20/12/1387 - 0:7 - 0 تشکر 96970

Among other reasons dealing with the current situation of English in Iranian public schools, I can refer to the insufficient pedagogical hours allocated to the course. 3, 2, and 2 hours a week has been allocated to the book 1, 2, and 3 in high school respectively. While for a desirable learning to take place, more hours are needed. To mention another reason, the content of the high school English books has not been designed around single axes. Accordingly, students are expected to learn new materials in grammar, vocabulary, reading, conversation, pronunciation, and to some extents, writing. Although in natural situations the basic skills naming listening, speaking, reading, and writing are in close interaction with one another, it’s not so practical to work them all in such a course book.

صبح امید

دوشنبه 26/12/1387 - 9:41 - 0 تشکر 99173

Another factor which seems to have noticeable effect on students’ learning is the way the environment is used.

Parviz Ahmadi, having Masters’ Degree in TEFL, has written an article dealing with why students learn English in language institutions much better and more compared with those who only attend public schools. His article has been published in ROSHD FLT (Foreign Language Teaching Journal) 84 with the title of “An Appraisal of Foreign Language Teaching in Iran: The Present State of the Art”.

As one of the factors involved in the discussion he asserts “In public schools, English classes are held in a place where students study mathematics, physics, history and other subjects. Therefore, the climate is not and can not be English by any means” (Ahmadi, 2007: 29). Then he adds that in language institutions, in contrary, the whole setting serves as a supplementary resource (ibid).

صبح امید

شنبه 2/5/1389 - 14:29 - 0 تشکر 213923

hi everybody
im a newcommer in ur community
Roo be Aseman recommended ur topic to me & i read ur opinions

im agree with u &  other friends. but u know, instead of the fact that our language is totally different from english, and additionally learning persian for other countries is very difficult, if u paid attention, persian people can learn & speak english more easily & correctly esp in pronounciation & accent. if u compared them with other countries esp with asian countries & even with some europian countries, we learn much faster & better, because our language has this flexibility. this flexibility is rare in other languages. 

and i think if we have problems in learning english , its because we pay attention & focus to some points & parts that are less important than speaking, see, in all our schools teachers focus on grammer more than others, & all we know that first of all we should have too much listening  & after that speaking, & we should learn all other things in listening too, as we learn our mother tongue.

we should speak with all our mistakes & wrong sentenses that we can make, we should encourage Ss to speak even with mistakes, they should try to speak like a kid who try to learn his/ her mother tongue.

thats my opinion.


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