More Info about Recent TELLSI Activities, MoUs
Guess who? Yes, it's me, again! Yay! :) (I've put everything else on hold and have decided it's past time to finally send off a few of the emails I've been thinking of lately. Those of my students who were hoping I'm spending time on their projects, proposals, theses and dissertations, sorry! I'm afraid you'll have to wait a teensy weensy bit more...)
As you know, the TELLSI community has signed its *very first MoUs* (i.e., Memorandum of Understanding) with various societies, and a few more are hopefully underway. Some people have been asking me what the purpose of an MoU is. Memoranda of Understanding are not legally binding, but pave the way for future collaborations. They are important for any organization which is serious about collaboration with other groups. As you already know, this year and for the first time ever, we have signed MoUs with the Society for Arabic Language and Literature, the Iranian Linguistics Society, and guess what? We also recently signed one with the Society for French Language and Literature! :) :)
Now what does this mean for TELLSI members? First of all, we share a lot in common with the above-mentioned societies, and these MoUs will hopefully enable us to broaden our scope and to collaborate with them via joint programs, conferences, workshops, etc. For example, many of these societies have recently become involved in teaching a language to speakers of other languages (even linguists are involved in AZFA or teaching Persian to speakers of other languages), but often without having the necessary background on teaching methodology, testing, etc. They are very interested in learning more about these through us. And of course we have a *lot* to learn from them. Also, if these societies work together and form a kind of "ettehaadiye" of language-related academic societies, we will all have more leverage in the relevant ministries and public organizations to influence all language-related decisions for the better at a national level; for example, influencing language teaching methodologies, textbooks, language curricula, etc.
You are most welcome to send in proposals for joint collaborations with these people. So far we have already held a language test development workshop for the Arabic Society (they don't have testing classes), and the French Society are very interested in holding a joint bilingual conference. As for the Iranian Linguistics Society, we have held a joint meeting after signing the MoU, and some very exciting decisions have been made (have you noticed how often I use the word exciting these days? ;), which I will share very soon, Inshallah. (I have promised to wait until after their next board meeting.) :(
We are also investigating some MoUs with various language institutes and will probably have good news in that area, as well. I don't have time to do justice to the importance of these decisions right now (I have a load of work waiting!), so I will explain more later. Among other things and as just one example, we are hoping that the language institutes who collaborate with us will help to ultimately develop a kind of national teacher training course that would enable language teachers going from one institute to another to be accepted at a new job without having to go thru another similar teacher training course. Another possibility (among many others) is that TELLSI members who need participants for their theses or dissertations would be allowed to make use of these language institutes for finding research participants, on condition that the research results be useful for the institute, as well. And so much more. (You get the general idea.) At the moment, a few MoUs with language institutes are also being discussed.
We are also very interested in establishing ties with Iranian academics living abroad (we would love to have a TELLSI chapter for Iranians living abroad), international organizations, etc. So please help us with these ideas if you can. (BTW, as you can guess, we desperately need volunteers who can put in a few hours a week for TELLSI projects; and as I am a sayyed, my prayers for you are guaranteed if you do! LOL ;)
Okay, that's it for now. I hope you have found these last few emails useful and that you appreciate them, because now I will have to stay up all night to finish my students' work (not to mention my office workload); otherwise they will kill me! (Students can be scary! ;) Maybe I won't need to throw myself under a bus after all...)
With warm wishes, and see you at TELLSI 12, coming up soon!
Desperately in need of your prayers, :)
S. Susan Marandi, PhD
Director of Inter-University & International Academic Relations
Tehran, I. R. of Iran