New approaches in teaching and learning the Persian language and culture

Guests of the Week:
Dr. Haleh Emrani
PhD Candidate in Near Eastern History, UCLA
& Dr. Peyman Nojoumian

Instructor of of Persian as a foreign language, USC
Host: Dr. Ali Akbari


Ms. Haleh Emrani is a retired Computer Consultant with extensive experience in UNIX-based solutions, Network Connectivity, Security, and Data Management.She is the manager and web coordinator of – Sasanika: Late Antique Near East Project, and the webmaster of - Bulletin of Iranian Ancient History, an academic online journal. She is a member of the American Historical Association, International Society for Iranian Studies and Middle East Studies Association. Ms Haleh Emrani holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, a Master of Arts in History, and is a C. Phil, currently working towards her PhD in Near Eastern History at University of California, Los Angeles. There is a demanding need to educate global professionals who are capable of handling ever-increasing global issues. The fact that learning foreign languages facilitates better understanding and opens up new communication channels between the nations and across the cultures has resulted in a growing interest in learning world languages among American students. These reasons are the impetus behind the University of Southern California’s efforts to offer a Persian language curriculum under the first phase of an Iranian Studies Initiative made possible by Farhang Foundation. Enabling proficiency in Persian and raising cultural awareness in language learners are major goals. The USC Iranian Studies Program has created a language education program that not only aims for high proficiency in Persian language but also provides an educational experience through which the students appreciate their culture and the complexity of the world that they live in.



Students will learn the Persian language and culture through meaningful and tasked-based communications. Tasks are real-life situations that are breakable in language functions. For example, narrating a memorable life experience in the past is a real-life language task that can be taught to learners in a gradual manner (from easier functions to more complicated situations). Recent advancements in the teaching of foreign languages have resulted in the creation of standards and guidelines across languages. These standards draw a clear expectation for students of proficiency-based language learning programs

For instance, an advance foreign language learner of any language should be able to narrate a real-life event in all tenses (past, present and future) and aspects in full paragraph length and extended discourse (ACTFL guidelines). In this talk, Dr. Nojoumian will explain about these standards and guidelines and their application to the teaching of Persian as a foreign language at the University of Southern California.Peyman Nojoumian obtained his Master’s degree in Teaching Persian as a Foreign Language from Allame Tabatabaee University, Tehran and his PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Ottawa, Canada. He Persian at the University of Maryland and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for more than six years. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Persian at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He developed a pool of communicative instructional materials and online resources for the teaching and assessment of the Persian language based on the latest ACTFL guidelines and standards. He was trained by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages to run Oral Proficiency Interviews to assess language proficiency of the Persian learners and speakers.