The following interview was conducted by the Office of International Collaboration of University of Mazandaran with Mr. Shahram Tarjani, a Ph.D. student of Persian language and literature at University of Mazandaran and a teacher of Persian language in Kazakhstan.
* Please introduce yourself briefly.
This is Shahram Tarjani. I was born in 1972 in the village of Vazivar, a district of the city of Noshahr. I have taught Persian literature at different universities in north of Iran.
I am currently PhD student in Persian language and literature at the University of Mazandaran, waiting to do me PhD thesis defense.
* How did you become interested in teaching Persian language?
Teaching Persian to non-Persian language speakers was a happy occasion for me. I went to Kazakhstan with the help of the International Office of the University of Mazandaran; during my stay, I did my best to be a good representative of the university as well as my dear homeland.
* How challenging was it to teach as a second language teacher in Kazakhstan?
It is worth knowing that the Persian language in Kazakhstan is the fourth language. With the explanation that our children in Iran face the challenge of choosing between Persian and English. That is, the English language has become the second language for children in schools and institutes. Of course, some, instead of English, choose other European languages, such as French, German, etc., for their children. But our children are generally facing bilingual challenges. But Kazakh children are required to learn three languages: 1. Kazakh language 2. Russian language 3. English language.
A few years ago, the Kazakh president ordered that Kazakh children should also study English. For this reason, English language programs have become very popular.
Now, the Persian language has become the fourth favorite language among Atyrau University students and staff.
Considering the interest shown by Kazak students and staff in learning the Persian language during the two semesters that I taught at the University of Atyrau, I a lot more can be done for further introducing the Persian culture, language and literature.
* Was it difficult for Kazakh language learners to learn the Persian language?
We share about 3,000 common words with the Kazakh language.
I remember one of the students said that her grandmother still remembers the Persian language. Undoubtedly, this is a sign of spread of the Persian language in faraway places. Generally speaking, it is not much difficult for a student to learn Persian.
* During your teaching, what were the most interesting topics for Kazakh language learners to learn in Persian?
Regarding the trips I previously had to Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), and considering the 9 months I lived in Kazakhstan, I found that the people of Central Asia love Iran and Iranians a lot. The topics that the learners were following in classes were Iran's history and culture. Of our 14 students at the University of Atyrau, 4 were professors of history; all expressed hope that they wished that one day they could visit Iran, especially the cities of Shiraz and Esfahan.
*What are the goals of the Persian language center at Mazandaran University in Atyrau?
Persian language teaching and, consequently, cultural exchange between the two universities.
* Tell us about your experience in the Kazakh educational system. Is there any difference in our educational system with them?
Yes, I saw educational differences in both countries. In Iran, students have homework assignments to practice at home. But students in Kazakhstan carry out all assignments at the school or college and do not have any homework.
This was one of my first challenges in teaching Persian to Kazakh language learners.
and I gradually coordinated with them.
* What attracted you most of all during your stay in Kazakhstan?
Dependence and respect for traditions were very interesting and, of course, admirable for me.
It will not be difficult for a student to pursue Persian language with motivation and interest.
* Many thanks to you Mr. Tarjani. Hoping you more success.