Language Symposium

IAAB’s Persian Language Educators’ Symposium brings together Persian language educators who teach heritage speakers from pre-school through high school. Educators gather from around the United States to address shared goals, needs, and challenges in an invite-only symposium. The 2015 Persian Language Educators' Symposium was held at Golestan Center for Language Immersion and Cultural Education in Berkeley, California from May 23-24.

If you are interested in hosting a future symposium, please email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

IAAB, in close collaboration with directors of Persian Language schools throughout the United States, organizes this unique gathering.

As a community, we are invested in developing meaningful and culturally affirming educational experiences for Iranian American youth. This includes providing students access to the tools of speaking, reading, and writing in their heritage language.

We recognize that language is deeply interwoven with culture, history, and identity. Persian language schools and programs therefore fulfill an essential role. They bring together students and families and often serve as cultural hubs within the local community. They provide young people access to positive Iranian mentors and role models. In an era of increasing discrimination, Persian language schools and programs are also one of the key places Iranian American children and youth learn to embrace their rich linguistic and cultural inheritance.

In bringing together Persian language educators with a range of backgrounds and experiences, this symposium seeks to:

  • Share best practices, success stories and models
  • Identify and begin addressing challenges, such as:
    • Recruitment and retention
    • Quality texts and materials
    • Student engagement and classroom management:        
      • Organizing interesting and meaningful activities
      • Practicing respectful authority
    • Teacher training and effective pedagogical practices
      • Heritage vs. non-heritage language acquisition 
      • Making use of multi-age/multi-generational student body 
      • Play and Learning
    • Technology and new digital literacies
    • Program sustainability
  • Draw connections between Persian language education, ethnic studies and youth development in community settings:
    • Look at innovative approaches to youth engagement and development
    • Address issues of identity and discrimination (post 9/11, etc.)
    • Discuss IAAB’s Educational Philosophy and approach
  • Establish an ongoing network of Persian language educators in the United States:
    • Create a shared database for curriculum and lesson plans
    • Create forums for continued communication
  • Learn from and connect with successful heritage language programs in other countries and in other immigrant communities within the United States.

 This conference aims to achieve these goals by:

1) Building a network of Persian language educators and identifying common needs and challenges. 

IAAB will send out a survey that lists the above topics and invites Persian school educators to select or name those workshops in which they would most like to participate. 

2) Allowing educators to learn about cutting edge pedagogical methods and to connect and dialogue with other educators. 

3) Bringing together Persian language educators across potential divisions - geographic, religious, pedagogical, etc. We hope that this symposium will create a unique opportunity to imagine and develop new pedagogical tools and networks/teacher training.