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Teaching spoken English in Iran’s private language schools: issues and options

Karim Sadeghi (Urmia University, Urmia, Iran)
Jack C. Richards (University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

ISSN: 1175-8708

Article publication date: 7 September 2015




Mastery of spoken English is a priority for many learners of English in Iran. Opportunities to acquire spoken English through the public school system are very limited, hence many students enroll in “conversation” courses in private institutes. The purpose of this paper is to report a study of how institute teachers address the teaching of spoken English.


Eighty-nine teachers completed a questionnaire on how they teach spoken English. The information was supplemented with interviews and classroom observation.


Results suggest that institute courses reflect a poor understanding of the nature of spoken interaction, which is reflected in speaking courses that are unfocused and that do not address key aspects of conversational interaction.

Practical implications

Suggestions are given for a re-examination of the differences between “conversation” and “discussion” in spoken English classes as the basis for designing spoken English classes and materials, as well as for the use of out-of-class learning opportunities to enhance the learning of spoken English in Iran and elsewhere.


This paper is based on the authors’ original research, and the authors believe this is the first study of its kind in the Iranian context.



Sadeghi, K. and Richards, J.C. (2015), "Teaching spoken English in Iran’s private language schools: issues and options", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 210-234.



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