Shyness among Iranian students
Shyness among students has always been considered one of the main dilemmas for the educational system in Iran. A large percentage of students, starting from kindergarten and up to the university level, often lack self-confidence in the classroom. I think part of this is cultural and due to what we call in Iran “ta’arof” - compliment. The reason that I say “compliment” is a relevant factor here is because I myself often happen to know the answer to many of the questions asked but remain quiet so I can coordinate myself with others in the class. Since I have lived and studied abroad and happen to have a much higher capability in speaking and writing English than most of the students in the class, I spend a lot of time talking to my friends in the college, and also on the phone, on how they should participate in the class and do not feel hampered by because of what they consider their comparative weaknesses.
It has to be said that part of this dilemma is also related to teaching methods in Iran. It is a fact that many students with degrees in English language who can read and understand well are unable to speak the language relatively fluently. Most of the University professors teaching English criticize the method used for teaching English in middle schools and high schools. The teaching method is generally considered wrong and outmoded. So one who wants to learn a foreign language lacks the very basic elements of becoming a bilingual person.
Recently I created a student journal called Horizon. It is the first English Journal of the University of Applied Science and Technology. I had to do almost everything by myself for the first issue unfortunately, despite a lot of efforts by myself and our Professor, Director of the Academic Group who supervises the Journal, it didn’t receive much attention. We tried our best to get others involved. Many of the students we approached refused to give us articles, perhaps...