Persian is a Means to Get to Know Our Powerful Neighbour Better

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The third foreign language is not compulsory in the EduComplex: it is optional, and the learner is free to choose or not to choose it. 

Mr. Ashot Bleyan’s diary note for the 5th of December, 2018  

What did he want to see? What was Mohammad Reza Heydari, Councilor of the Cultural Center of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose visit to the EduComplex was continually being postponed, looking for in the EduComplex?  He came at last… a real diplomat in manners. The discreet Iranian official did not seem to be willing to leave. After the planned reception program he started to tour about the Mother School, entered the classrooms, took part in Nune Movsisyan’s Armenian media lesson, met the students working in the science laboratories, got to know the way we organize school meals as well as the conditions of students’ sports training. At the end of the visit, a group of students and I saw him off with a warm farewell.

As for the necessity of knowing three foreign languages, on different occasions, even on the platforms of the pre-election period, not only does Nikol Pashinyan speak but also shows with his own example by making speeches in English, French and Russian during the official ceremonies or giving interviews. I guess the first two languages are sure to be English and Russian which will be taught like we do, beginning from the first grade. And what about the third foreign language? It is very little spoken of. The official website of the Ministry of ES and the websites of its affiliates hardly give any information about this issue of public interest. We are looking for this issue with content projects in the public discussion section.          

It is hard to imagine how they are going to introduce the third foreign language at public schools: What will the order be? Who will choose the third language, from which grade and for which period of time? Mr Heydari's visit was an opportunity for me to evaluate what we have done, in this case with the example of teaching Persian. That was a chance for me to look at orientalist, specialist of the Persian language Diana Nazaryan's one-year activities with a stranger and a stranger's view as an impartial expert of education.             

We haven't imposed and do not impose the third foreign language on our learners. Why should we? The organization of our author pedagogy with two foreign languages, no matter how much we or I myself disagree with the Russian and English teachers conditioned by the inertia of the community and state demands, is unique with the full inclusion ordinary teachers and students.    

The third foreign language is not compulsory in the EduComplex: it is optional, and the learner is free to choose or not to choose it. The learner is free to choose one of these foreign languages: Georgian, Turkish, Persian (the languages of the neighbouring countries), French, Spanish, German (as the most spoken European languages). There can also be a new initiative to start learning another language. This year a group of students have begun learning Italian. On the other hand, there were some initiatives which didn't have continuation like with the Japanese, Chinese, Arabic languages. There were times when the teaching of the Persian language also had interruptions. Thanks to Diana's and our consistency, the introduction of the third foreign language and its teaching in the EduComplex has been faithful to our author pedagogy and is now developing. The staff of the Cultural Center of Iran were aware of this, and now they have come here to be convinced in this and get to know it better. This is what I wanted to speak about.           

About thirty students of the EduComplex of Grades 6-12 are learning Persian in different age groups in a free reading-room club environment when the teacher has the pedagogical freedom of keeping the students' interest alive. The indicator of her success is the increasing number of students studying Persian.             

The Persian language is a means to get to know our powerful neighbour, the people in Iran, their achievements and problems, to be interested in this country and to satisfy the curiosity. This was the reason why we chose social science specialists to be the teachers of foreign languages. Mr Heydari noticed this direction of ours. The teachers and students presented that in detail.  

The Persian rich literature, fiction films, music appeared in the learner's art course, in our general morning pieces of training, in the initiatives and projects mentioned on our educational calendar. We made arrangements easily to begin our joint project Chaharshanbe Suri-Trndez. In this way, we will discover our historical-cultural common features. Mr Heydari saw Armenian teenagers who are interested in Persian and Iran. Among them, there are a big number of students who have come from Iran and who haven't chosen Persian and are not Diana's students, but they are Diana's partners.

Mr Heydari was interested in our educational exchange programs: "Yerevan-Istanbul" and "Armenian-Georgian Public Educational Bridges'', and our offer concerning the Armenian-Iranian educational exchanges, was accepted willingly. So Armenian-Iranian educational exchanges will be mentioned on our 2019 educational calendar.       

What do we and our teenagers know about nowadays Iran? Where can we know from? I tried to create a new project-task for Diana's club activity, for the January Project Camp: to copy out and collect the whole information about Iran from the state syllabuses, textbooks and answer this question: How is the historical and nowadays Iran introduced? And then, in my mind, I passed on to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia. 

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