Teach English in Chutoulang Zhen - Chifeng Shi

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Learning English has always been a challenging task for the Farsi-speaking people in Iran. Like many other learners of English around the world, the focal motivation of the English learners in Iran is to learn how to be able to verbally communicate with the English-speaking people. About forty years ago, before the change of the governments in Iran, the English language enthusiasts had much greater exposure to English. This was due to the presence of numerous English-speaking employees of different foreign companies in Iran. The presence of those foreign citizens was great help for those groups of the Iranian students who were passionate in learning how to speak English as the foreigners were approachable in public places to socialize with. In addition, there were English-speaking television and radio stations in the country that not only facilitated the lives of the foreigners living in Iran, the Iranian English language enthusiasts benefited from these media in promoting their knowledge of authentic English. With the policies of the current government the exposure to the authentic English has diminished significantly. Although the education system of Iran has experienced some changes in the English language curriculum at the public schools, and there has been an increase in the number of the private language schools, English learners are rarely exposed to the authentic language. Aside from the fact that students in Iran do not learn authentic English, because of not having contact with the native English speakers, they lack the knowledge of the cultural nuances. In addition to these deficiencies, the vast majority of the English instructors in Iran are college graduates who themselves have had no real exposure to the authentic English and the real culture of the English-speaking people. The problems that English learners in Iran are facing, go beyond the lack of the authentic language and familiarity with the cultural nuances of the native English speakers. Like many other English learners around the world, the Iranian students have the obstacle of the difference between the grammatical structures between English and Farsi. One of the areas in which the Iranian English learners have difficulty with, is the use of prepositions. One of the problems that English learners in general have difficulty with is the interference of their mother tongues with the process of learning the new language. As a Farsi-speaking English learner, during the first years of my journey of learning a new language, I always found the use of prepositions challenging. For Farsi speakers particularly, there are certain prepositions that can be problematic to use in real situations. One example of this problem is to distinguish between ‘of’ and ‘from’. The beginning learners particularly face challenging situation in correct use of the two prepositions. Another grammatical issue that challenges the Iranian English learners is the use of some verbs. I remember my first years of learning English when I had difficulty in using ‘lend’ and ‘borrow’ appropriately. Farsi speakers use the same Farsi word that means both ‘lend’ and ‘borrow’, however, for both verbs they use a modal verb after the main verb. Therefore, since the equivalence for both verbs is one same word, it creates confusion for the Farsi speakers. Another example is the equivalence for the verbs ‘teach’ and ‘learn’ where Farsi speakers face the same challenge. The difference between the phonological system of Farsi and English is another challenge for the Farsi-speaking English learners. Any verb or noun in English that begins with an ‘S’ and a consonant that comes immediately after it starts with the /s/ sound. Due to their phonological system, Farsi speakers add the vowel /ə/ before pronouncing the /s/. In the beginning years of my learning English, I had the same issue, and I could not get it of my way until I had the opportunity to live among the native speakers in the US. As long as the education system in Iran does not set a priority for learning English which is the universal language of finance, education and politics, the Farsi speakers continue to face the challenge of learning authentic English, and with so may enthusiastic learners in the country that is indeed unfortunate. Please note that I copy and pasted from a Word document onto here. I tried to change the format here to look like the one in the Word document, but could not do so.