Celta Focus on the Learner Essay

Celta Focus on the Learner Essay.

Learner Profile

I interviewed ******** an Iranian 31 year old female student in the Level I class. ****’s native language is Persian (Farsi). **** came to England a year ago to join her Iranian husband who has been living and working in England for the past 5 years. At present they have no children. She has only been attending class at college for a few weeks where she is also taking a class in mathematics in order to learn the correct English terminology. **** is an enthusiastic and highly motivated student who arrives at class early and contributes throughout the lesson.

Her main motivation for learning English is that she wishes to go to University to study for a degree in mathematics. Currently in her personal life she feels she has little need or opportunity to use English. She and her husband speak Persian exclusively at home and they also confine their television viewing to watching Persian language films. She has made friends with a fellow Iranian student and outside of lessons, and occasionally in the lesson, they communicate in Persian.

**** attended English classes in Iran for one year before coming to England.

She describes the classes as large, with 30 or more students, and that the focus was on grammar rules, reading and writing. Dolati and Seliman (2011)1 have highlighted that this focus accounts for a general weakness of spoken English amongst Iranians. **** feels that the focus on reading and writing was necessary due to the difficulty of changing from Arabic to Latin script and also changing the direction of the text to left to right. Only occasionally did the class get the opportunity to watch a video and hear spoken English and then have the opportunity to discuss in English what they had seen.

There were no opportunities to hear or speak English outside of the classroom. Due to this lack of practice she particularly struggles with listening exercises. She feels more confident when listening to the teacher when visual aids are used and confirmed that she is predominantly a visual learner when she said that she really likes the PowerPoint pictures used in class as the pictures helped her remember new vocabulary. She finds the accents of her fellow students difficult to understand at times.

Problems Identified

Two of the problems that Persian speakers often have when speaking English, mentioned by Michael Swan and Bernard Smith in Learner English: A teacher’s guide to interference and other problems, were demonstrated by ****: •Word stress in Persian is highly predictable and tends to fall on the final syllable. **** predominately stressed the final syllable of words during the interview e.g. read’ing (instead of ‘reading) and Brom’ley (instead of ‘Bromley). •Conjunctions are used more frequently in Persian than in English, particularly at the beginning of sentences. The most common conjunction is ‘and’. **** began a large number of her sentences with the word ‘and’.

However, the problem I wish to address is the omission of the ‘s’ ending on the verb when using the third person singular. Whilst this is a common problem for all learners, Aliakbari and Toni (2008)2 have identified that this is a particular problem for Persian speakers when learning English. Persian only has one pronoun for both he and she and, when speaking formerly or to show respect, plural verb endings are normally used with the singular pronoun. When **** spoke about her husband she consistently omitted the ‘s’ ending from the verb e.g. “My husband work…..”, “He live…….” and “He speak…….”.

Suggested Activity

As **** has shown that she is predominately a visual learner I will show her the rules for verb endings using a substitution table that we can read through and discuss together (Attachment 1). I will use the verbs that she made errors with during our interview and refer back to our discussion to give the exercise context. The table also includes negative structures and questions so that she understands that in these cases ‘do’ becomes the verb that must agree with the subject.

I will ask her to complete two gap-fill exercises from English Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy (Attachment 2) to see if she can use the correct forms in a restricted way. As the original mistakes were made whilst speaking, I will then ask her again about her current life to see if she is now able to use the target language correctly in freer practice. If necessary we will repeat the above steps.

References
1.Dolati, I & Seliman, S. (2011, September), An Investigation On Iranian Students’ Weaknesses In Spoken English, Journal of Edupres, Pages 94-99. Retrieved 28th October 2012, from http://eprints.utm.my/15930/1/JOE-1-2011-013.pdf

Celta Focus on the Learner Essay

Persepolis & Not Without My Daughter Essay

Persepolis & Not Without My Daughter Essay.

The Iranian revolution of 1979 refers to the overthrowing of the last king of Iran. It was an Islamic revolution which attempted to replace Mohammed Reza Shah, with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution. Strong opposition against the Shah showed that the people wanted a religious ruler rather than someone they saw as an American puppet. Many Iranian people would think that the Shah was a ‘capitalist pig’ who ran a corrupt and repressive regime but tried to embrace western style democracy.

In saying this, Iran was a very developed and modern nation during the Shah’s reign where students were educated together and westernization took over. The Shah, who was supported by many western powers, ruled Iran like a dictatorship. He oppressed his people, many of which were illiterate, and kept most of them in poverty which made him very unpopular. The people of Iran were living in an oil rich country, and yet poverty was not uncommon.

They enjoyed freedoms unheard of in Saudi Arabia, yet were kept under the brutal force of the secret police, the Savak.

On the other hand when Khomeini took over the government was a theocracy and ended all progression in Iran and forced his Islamic rules on the people. Iran became a completely different nation after Khomeini took power losing all its foreign industry and development. Khomeini believed that Iran was losing its origins and history to Americanization. He ruled using the Quran, the Islamic holy book. This meant new Islamic laws were imposed on people, a new dress code was coerced on woman while men had more freedoms displaying patriarchy in society. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press were ostensibly protected, at least as long as it did not contradict Islamic law. He expelled all other influences whereas the shah agreed with capitalism and modernization on the culture and economy. This caused Khomeini to cut off western influence and made Iran an Islamic republic. The Shah had previously outlawed the wearing of the chador in public whereas Khomeini made it law to wear the chador.

The people believed that when Khomeini seized power in 1979 he would bring freedom and inequality in their nation however this was not the case. There were many systematic human rights violations, including mass executions and conscriptions. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is an autobiography about her childhood growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. The medium of storytelling is through a graphic novel which gives a different kind of textual interpretation. The books style is meant to represent a childlike understanding of the world since the novel follows Satrapis own childhood in Tehran, Iran. Marjane recounts the political situation in Iran during the year 1979 throughout the book. In the first part of the book, the women are required to wear a veil, to which Marji’s mother protests. Nevertheless her family is religious and of Iranian decent but they live a liberal and westernized lifestyle, reflective of the Shah’s regime.

The book was written in 2003 yet it’s in black and white to show the past and how Khomeini’s laws left Iran vacant of colour and modern culture. In contrast to the film Not Without My Daughter is based on a true story of Betty Mahmoody’s escape from Iran with her daughter after her Iranian husband attempted to turn a two-week vacation into a permanent relocation against her will. Betty and her family live in the Michigan and lead a very westernized life similar to the Satrapis; in the two families there is respect and equality in marriage. But within time, Moody becomes more belligerent and abusive towards his wife, taking advantage of the patriarchal Iranian laws. Betty and Marji’s mom are both oppressed under gender specific Islamic law however Marji’s father treats his wife with equality throughout the entire novel.

Due to their liberal and westernized ideals, both the Satrapis and Mahmoody’s suffered drastic alterations to their ways of life under both the rulers. The patriarchal nature of Iran left effects on the two families, shown through the inequality within both marriages, their views of education and changes in the nature of their parent-child relationships. Following the revolution, Iran experiences drastic changes in all areas of society. Women were greatly affected during Khomeini’s rule, having their rights taken away. A new Islamic dress code was imposed on all women in Iran, this change influenced Betty, Marji’s mother and Marji herself. As stated in the Quran, women should wear the hijab in public covering themselves to gain more self-confidence and self-respect knowing who they are in the society. In saying this, during Khomeini’s rule ushered in oppressive laws against women that restricted a woman’s right to express her individuality as a woman, with a dress code being one of the most important impacts seen in both autobiographies.

In the very beginning of the book, Marjane stated, “We didn’t really like to wear the veil, especially since we didn’t understand why we had to’’ Marjane found the veil especially difficult to accept as seen throughout the book because they were of a westernized mentality and did not approve of the restrictions placed on women’s rights even though [she] was very religious. Marji her family ‘’were very modern and avant-garde’’ and saw the veil as having their basic freedoms taken away. The hijab had turned woman against each other and ‘’there were demonstrations for and against the veil’’ which created conflict in society between westernized people like Marji’s mother and woman who wanted to keep Islamic ideas in practice. Woman demonstrating against the current regime would often let some of their hair show which meant that ‘’Woman faced prison when they refused to wear the veil’’. In the film Not Without My Daughter, Betty Mahmoody an American woman got a rifle pointed at her by police when she first arrived in Tehran, because she wasn’t familiar with the new dress code for women at the time similarly to Persepolis.

Betty later gets informed that for ‘every hair that is shown is like a dagger in the heart of our martyrs’ which means she is showing disrespect for everyone who died for during the revolution. After the revolution took place, Iran became a patriarchal nation giving men much more rights and freedoms than women. Despite Iran being an Islamic nation, the unjust between the two genders is not Islamic rules rather the Iranian society and culture. Educated and respected men disagreed with the inequalities seen in the culture and were conscious of the oppression and shared power within the household. In the movie, when Betty visits Iran shortly after the revolution she discovers a huge difference in culture and society, nothing close to her home. Moody who had been living in the United States was very westernized, yet he had rapidly changed as result of the surrounding environment, he refused his wife and daughter their rights in Iran.

Betty has to obey certain laws imposed upon her in a patriarchal country where Moody oppressed her daily limiting all her freedoms and rights. Moody dominated the relationship and tricked his wife in coming to Iran thinking it was only a two week vacation even though he had planned all along for a permanent stay. Betty tried to rebel and resist the treatment she was receiving from her husband but moody simply replied and said ‘’you’re in my country now” It seemed as soon as Moody came back to Iran he became a totally different man and adopted the patriarchal ways in the environment surrounding him which lead to the control his wife and daughter. In the United States Moody could not have been able to treat her that way and physically abuse her because it was illegal however in Iran this was the norm. Furthermore Moody confiscated Betty’s passport, credit cards and disallowed her to use the phone, essentially keeping her prisoner in his home, if Betty opposed him he would beat her.

On the contrary in the novel, Marji’s parents’ marriage was fair and even it relied on their support and respect for one another to endure the fundamental changes occurring around them. For example Marji’s father joined the protest and ‘’he took photos every day. It was strictly forbidden. He had even been arrested for once but escaped at the last minute’’ this shows how he is supporting his wife and going against the Islamic regime. This proves how the Satrapis did not follow or agree with Iran’s patriarchal system that allowed for the control of wives by their husbands, Moody abused his power over his wife to a great extent by severely limiting her emotional and physical freedom which resulted in an indirect effect on his relationship with Mahtob.

During this time, the culture was discriminatory and brutal against women and came with harsh consequences for any woman who opposed the new government. In Persepolis Marjane’s mother opposes the rules implemented by demonstrating and refusing to wear the veil. Taji’s actions resulted in her being harassed and verbally abused, ‘’they insulted me. They said that women like me should be pushed against a wall and fucked. And then thrown in the garbage’’ This event showed the consequences of not wearing the veil and covering one’s body in public. In the movie Betty, having had a pistol aimed at her, learned that giving up her individuality and femininity was best way to suggest obedience to Islamic rules since she did not want to risk any punishment. Marjane’s mother’s behavior at home and in public was evidence of how having a modern ideology made the Islamic regime seem that much more tyrannical. The Satrapis had strongly opposed the Shah’s dictatorship despite the fact that they had lived a prosperous and modernized life under his rule.

While Betty conformed to the proper conduct expected of an Iranian woman in public; she did not have the freedom to express her opinions and feelings at home because her husband, Moody. His family members were strict followers of Islam, unlike the Satrapis which were not as severely fundamentalist. Gender segregation and the limited rights of women were most evident in Moody’s household because of the oppressive culture that made men and women physically separated from each other during mealtime. Much of Moody’s explanations for his oppressive treatment of his wife were largely due to the guilt he felt as a Iranian Muslim man because he was not in his country during a time the revolution, ‘’I couldn’t believe it, everyone on the streets, I should have been there’’. Therefore, the Islamic rules that the female characters had to cope with had radically changed their lifestyles as they began to live in fear as a result of the patriarchy.

While the two characters both faced and overcame several adversities in the face of oppression and discrimination; however there are some differences of their stories. To be begin with, the Satrapis and Moody have very dissimilar views on the Shah and Khomeini which change throughout the film. There are very different relationships between Marji and her parents and Moody with his daughter. The parent-child relationships in both these works play key roles in explaining Marji and Betty’s interpretation of Iranian culture and philosophy. When the Shah fell from power, essentially all of Iran celebrated; the majority of the population opposed his dictatorship, and welcomed a change in governance.

Khomeini’s leadership offered a poor alternative and a false representation of Islam, causing many to alter their views about the Shah. Preceding Khomeini’s rule, the Satrapis favored any sort of revolution against the Shah’s regime. Although the Satrapis prospered under the western governance as shown is stated in chapter one, the Marji’s family had a maid, ‘’had a Cadillac’’ and lived a luxurious lifestyle. After Khomeini came into power, Mr Satrapi is discriminated against because of his tie and suit, an Iranian policeman calling him a “westernized piece of trash”. This causes Mr Satrapi to become upset and defends his western mindset.

It is obvious, though the Satrapis attitude, that despite the fact that they desired the Shah removed from power they were still unable to live in way same manner under the Shah. Whereas Moody, showed his happiness at the overthrowing of the Shah’s stating, ‘’ [Iranians] could say whatever we want, this is our faith, this is our life, this is who we are, [and] nothing can stop us.” They may not have liked their earlier ruler, yet they valued the western way of life that provided them with freedom. What was supposed to be a revolution for an improved lifestyle had become a new regime where the Satrapis and Mahmoodys were oppressed in a different style.

Not Without My Daughter and Persepolis both demonstrated how Iranian people with liberal and westernized ideologies tried to deal and live under an oppressive and fundamentalist regime that was differed from their entire beliefs. Iran was once a progressive and rich country even though the majority of the population suffered greatly from extreme poverty. On the other hand Khomeini was by no means an improvement to the government system; people felt that he ran another style of dictatorship.

He unleashed a completely new fundamentalist Islamic regime within Iran where women’s rights were suppressed; for instance the oppression of liberty through dress code. Most significantly, they could not stand living in fear of the horrifying consequences they would face if they appeared to go against the fundamentalist regime. For all of the similarities and differences between both autobiographies, the major points of comparison were oppression of woman, life under the Islamic regime and fundamentalist ideals. However the parent child relationships differed as well as views on impacts of education on indoctrination. In conclusion both families had been oppressed under patriarchal Islamic rules in which they tried to rebel and essentially escape the country.

Persepolis & Not Without My Daughter Essay

Isfahan, the City of Paradise Essay

Isfahan, the City of Paradise Essay.

Isfahan, Old Persian Aspadana, the capital of Isfahan Province, is the Iran’s third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad. This amazing patch of heaven, which is called by Persians as “half of the world”, has imperishable roots in history, unique pearls in architecture and exquisite paragons of art and handicrafts.

As a bright star in the sky of human civilization, the existence of Isfahan can be traced back to the prehistoric periods. Ancient Isfahan was part of the Elamite Empire and it became one of the principal towns of the Median dynasty, when Iranian Medes settled there.

Subsequently the province became part of the Achaemenid Empire and after the liberation of Iran from Macedonian occupation it became part of Parthian Empire. In the Sassanid era, Isfahan was a military centre with strong fortifications. In the reign of Malik Shah I of the Seljuk dynasty, Isfahan was selected as capital. After being raided and massacred by the Mongols in the 13th century, followed by Timur in 1387, this city, as the result of its suitable geographic situation, flourished again especially in Safavid dynasty.

Even today, the city retains much of its past glory.

Once being one of the largest cities in the world, Isfahan experienced its golden age in the 16th century under Shah Abbas the Great (1587-1629), who made it the new capital of the Safavid dynasty. Isfahan is a dazzling gem because of its Islamic architecture with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques and minarets. The Naghsh-i-Jahan Square is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Other distinctive examples are mosques such as Imam Mosque, Jame Mosque and Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque, palaces like Chehel Sotoun, Hasht Behesht and Aliqapu, bridges such as Khaju Bridge and Si-o-se pol Bridge and many other brilliant instances of flourished architecture of Isfahan.

As a well-known center of art creation Isfahan has long been one of the famous places for production of the Persian Rug. Weaving in Isfahan blossomed in the Safavid era. But when the Afghans invaded Iran, ending the Safavid dynasty, the craft also became sluggish. After that, weaving was taken seriously only in 1920s, between two world wars. Isfahani artists commenced to weave Safavid designs and once again the city became one of the most important poles of the Iranian rug weaving industry.

Isfahani carpets today are among the most favourite ones in world markets, having many customers in western countries and usually have excellent quality. Khatam, the Persian version of marquetry, is another art work which includes art forms made by decorating the surface of wooden articles with delicate pieces of wood, bone and metal precisely-cut geometrical shapes. Other examples of art creations in Isfahan are splendid miniature paintings, fine silver filigrees and outstanding engravings on various metals.

As an ancient tree of life, a perfect mirror of sublime architecture and an ever-beating heart of art, Isfahan has always been a sparkling jewel of humankind achievements. It is a perfect example of the way Iranian nation has risen like a majestic proud phoenix from the ashes of ruinous wars and has continued to be the herald of the world inheritance of beauty, spirituality and creativity.

Isfahan, the City of Paradise Essay