5 tips for teaching Persian to beginners

Maybe teaching Persian to beginners is a daunting prospect, especially when it’s a monolingual group and you know nothing of their native language. To help you succeed in setting your learners firmly on the path to increasing proficiency, here are 5 tips for teaching Persian to beginners.

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1. Let them listen first

More than likely, your learners will want to start practicing speaking pretty much from the get-go. However, it takes a while for one’s ear to acclimatize to the sounds of a new foreign language, and not everyone will be so keen; don’t pressure learners into speaking before they’ve had lots of opportunities to listen to you using it (which doesn’t mean you have to just be rambling on at the front of the classroom – with beginners more so than with other levels, you really really have to consider what you say and grade your language accordingly).

2. Show, don’t tell

One of the steps to teach Persian to beginners is to show, not tell, in the classroom. In fact, learners will better understand what you’re trying to say if you use visual cues rather than spill a lot of words in their direction.

What does this exactly mean? Instead of saying, “Let’s learn the passive tense” practice how to teach basic Persian by giving clear examples of the target language structure with simple drawings, short skits, pictures, and exaggerated gestures.

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3. Give them lots of time to practice

In Persian beginner lessons, you cannot expect your students to get it immediately. You should provide lots of examples, check for understanding, and then ensure that your class has enough time to practice what you’ve just taught them.

When teaching beginners Persian, this usually means drilling the learners (making them listen and repeat the language structure several times after you) and then having them practice it individually or with other learners. Make sure to let them know that it’s okay to mess up during practice time so they don’t feel pressured to be perfect and nice on the first try.

4. Don’t be boring

Persian teaching for beginners doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth. Instead, use lots of games to encourage your learners to practice and produce the language you’ve taught. Also, You can incorporate your students’ interests so they want to learn!

Also, nothing’s duller than making students read from the textbook and fill in lame worksheets with lots of text and zero images.

5. Establish classroom language early on

Classroom language – Can you speak more slowly? What do we have to do? I don’t understand. What does… mean? How do you say… in Persian? – is usually associated with teaching kids, but it really helps with adult beginners as well. No matter how friendly and relaxed you make your classroom atmosphere, learning a new foreign language can still be daunting, especially when you feel you’re not completely following what’s going on, or that you might be called on to say something that you don’t feel ready to say that thing. In fact, it’s much better to equip students early on with classroom language that will help them navigate the lesson smoothly.

Useful Tips:

A – Work on speaking and listening

Speaking and listening are both vital and important skills for students learning any foreign language. Encourage beginner students to learn actively by engaging them in conversation. It’s good that she/he converse with you in Persian. Choose topics of conversation that she/he finds relatable and interesting.

  • For example, you can ask your students to bring pictures of their favorite pets and have a conversation about the pictures. Give them a prompt, such as: “کریستین، گربه تو خیلی زیبا است. چن سال دارد؟ ” «Christine, your cat is so beautiful! How old is it?».
  • Develop active listening skills in a fun way by having your students listen to Persian songs or watch films in Persian. Ask them questions about that Persian song or film when you are done, and get a conversation going.

B – Get your students reading

Reading Persian will help your students develop a stronger grasp of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, as well as the rules of spelling and pronunciation. Reading Persian texts can also enhance your students’ understanding of Persian culture. Please pick reading assignments that are appropriate for your student’s level of understanding. You can build their comprehension skills by asking them questions about what they have read.

  • For example, you might have your students read a short essay in Persian. Ask them to summarize the main point(s) of the essay in Persian, in their own words.
  • If you are using a more traditional approach to teaching Persian, ask your students questions about grammar or vocabulary.

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