Learners: Activity 1

Who are the learners?

Please read the information about learner characteristics before working through these activities.

Watch the entire Interview of each learner, and describe each one’s individual characteristics, as you can identify these in the information given in the interview. Document what you know about each of them in terms of:

  1. How long have they been learning Persian, and what kind of exposure to Persian have they had? Was their instruction/ exposure communication-oriented or accuracy-oriented?

  2. Did they begin learning Persian before the end of the critical period?

  3. Educational and literacy level; present and past purposes for learning Persian

  4. Is their present orientation predominantly to either communication or to accuracy or both?

  5. Personality

  6. Learning styles and strategies

  7. Other possibly relevant traits

Pari Interview


Fareshteh Interview

Transcript (PDF)

Please type your answers to the questions in the box below.

When you have finished typing your answer, click to compare your response with the Learner Language staff response.

  1. How long have they been learning Persian, and what kind of exposure to Persian have they had? Was their instruction communication-oriented or accuracy-oriented?

    Pari has studied Farsi for more than two years. One of her learning experiences was in a typical language classroom where there was a strong focus on accuracy which has helped her to learn the Persian grammar; in the first phase of learning, she has had accuracy-oriented instruction in Persian. But Pari also has been in an immersion program in which she had to communicate with other students in Farsi and had the chance to meet native speakers and communicate with them and learn about the people and culture of the target language. This experience gave Pari a communication-oriented exposure to Persian in the immersion program and with friends.

    Fereshteh has studied Farsi for one year in a formal setting and has had no other opportunity to practice her Farsi and use it for communication. In this formal classroom setting, the materials being used are more accuracy-based, and the focus is more on the grammar than communication.

  2. Did they begin learning Persian before the end of the critical period?

    Pari started learning Farsi at the age of 37 which is after the critical period and she has studied Farsi for 2 years.
    Fereshteh started learning Farsi at the age of 30 which is also after the critical period and she has studied the language for one year.

  3. Educational and literacy level; present and past purposes for learning Persian; motivation

    Pari started Farsi because of her major which is political science, so her initial motivation seems to have been more instrumental, but it appears that her motivation has become more integrative over time and now she is extremely interested in the culture and people. It is interesting that Pari knows about some of the cities in Iran and even has in mind those places she would like to visit in Iran. She mentions in the interview that not only would she like to visit big cities but also she would like to visit small villages..
    Fereshteh mostly wants to learn Farsi in order to communicate with her many Iranian friends; she loves Iran and its culture and really wants to visit this county; therefore, her motivation is intrinsic and integrative, since it comes from a desire for cultural enrichment as well as identification with target language speakers.

  4. Is their present orientation to either communication or accuracy?

    Pari tries to be correct when she speaks and she uses self-correction and monitors her accuracy when she is talking. On the other hand her primary focus in conversation is on communication. So it seems she has a combination of both communication-orientation and accuracy-orientation.
    Fereshteh has been studying in a more accuracy-oriented setting; she consciously monitors her utterances a great deal and pauses too frequently. This self-monitoring could be related to her grammar-based background. The nature of the tasks is based on communication but it seems that her grammar training hasn’t prepared her to be fluent at that.

  5. Personality:

    Although Pari is a little shy and introverted, she appears confident in her interaction with the interviewer in front of the camera. Sometimes she even explains more than the interviewer expects and once she even apologizes for talking so much; this shows how relaxed and self-assured she becomes during the interview. She jokes around and is not worried about making mistakes. In addition, when she does not know a word and whenever she feels she needs help she asks the interviewer.

    Fereshteh seems extremely nervous during the interview and obviously not comfortable in front of the camera. (Later she told us this was the first time she had ever done any public speaking in any language, and so the experience was really out of her comfort zone.) Her anxiety might have influenced her language production especially at first. However, she becomes more relaxed during the Jigsaw and Comparison task while she is interacting with Pari. Like Pari, Fereshteh appears to be willing to take risks.

  6. Learning styles and strategies

    Learning style: During her interaction with the interviewer, Pari tries to take all of the information and then integrate this information and make a summary of what she understands specially in the question part (70: fekr mikonam madar-ash kheili bishtar asabani mishe[I think her mother would become even more angry]; 61:khob fekr mikonam ke um khe, zendegish kheili kutah bashe[I think her life would be very short]); therefore, we might say that she uses a synthesizing learning style.

    Learning strategy: It seems that neither learner has that much exposure to Farsi now since they do not have any Farsi class and they are not in a community when the language is spoken, but it is interesting that Pari still tries to participate in a conversation group once a week and it seems her learning strategy is somewhat focused on pop culture since she knows many Iranian writers and it looks like she watches many Iranian movies.

  7. Other possibly relevant traits

    They are both females


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