Back after a three-week gap, and, as might have been expected, something of a two steps back move. Aisha turned up first, Hamed drifted in a little later, then Sherwan and Rabar, and finally Ali, though he had the best excuse, just returning from college. That seems to have been the biggest development, with most of them now being allocated places at college, but this seems very much to be a mixed blessing. For the most part, all they are offered is a basic English course; this suits Ali, as it is what he needs (even though he is finding it hard!), but arrangements for Sherwan are in a mess – he registered, turned up, and was told he needed to register. Aisha is the most ill-served, for the course is well below her level, and fails to address her most basic need, to improve her spoken English, as basically it seems to be focused on the written word. My guess is that this makes it possible to teach larger numbers. Her passionate desire is to go to university, and this is helping in no way to achieve that.
Hamed is the most active, but his learning is self-generated, as he is heavily involved in the protests against the Iranian government over its violent crackdown of protest, brought about by the death of Mahsa Amini. He is at the Iranian embassy every day, has cut off his hair in solidarity, and is sporting the sweatshirt shown in the photo. Ironic really, that he fled Iran because of the consequences of his work as a political activist, and is now continuing that line of work.
We spent some time discussing these things, and also trying to find out what direction to take the group, what project to look at next. I did not really expect a clear purpose on which they could all agree, but in general Hamed would like more obvious comedy, and Aisha would like something more rooted in real life. And the others either do not have a strong opinion or are unable to express it clearly.
In order to do some practical work, I ran through some work based on melodrama, leading to a short but not especially satisfactory story. I do not feel I did a very good job, as I found it difficult to motivate myself, let alone them. But I do have an idea – based on Shakespeare’s As You Like It – so will give that some thought before next week.
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