I have been the course director of Persian language courses at York University since 2013, where most students are Persian heritage speakers of Iranian and Afghan origin and with mixed-level linguistic and cultural competencies. Whether teaching elementary or intermediate Persian, I merge dramatic and acting practices with language learning exercises. Embodied dramatic activities engage students in multilayered processes of cultural learning and enable them to improve their language confidence and proficiency in speaking and listening skills.
I am a fan of teaching Persian through drama and performance. I believe that pedagogically speaking, writing, and performing short playscripts in Persian provides the liminal, inclusive frame of mind for student-players to experience an alternative identity and culture. This cultural learning outcome is exercised by role-playing and assuming a character within a different socio-cultural context. The course is a combination of reading, writing, performing, and watching performances. We read scenes from plays, analyze them, improvise (orally and written), and perform scenes. At the intermediate level, we also watch Persian films (feature film or documentary) that is related to the topic of the week. After every lesson, we have class discussions and writing assignments (film reviews, scene or character analysis).