Training at Iranian Youth Development Association

On Saturday we delivered a training session for the Iranian Youth Development Association (IYDA). The session focused on using participatory tools to differentiate language learning for students of different levels. The Iranian Youth Development Association is a wonderful charity, set up in 1989, that provides Farsi language lessons and Iranian and Afghan cultural education for children. At the training we focused strongly on identity and working with students to talk and write about themselves in their own terms. We had a fascinating debate about the racism suffered by Afghans in Iran. One or two of the participants felt uncomfortable and “embarrassed” as a result. However everyone agreed that it was a really important debate to have though and this kind of delicate issues cannot be silenced. The job of the participatory teacher, along with his/her students, is to foster a learning community where  authentic debate can emerge and students can take on throny issues, while at the same time everyone feels respected and supported.