The Perceptions of Iranian Policymakers as Articulated in Iran’s Foreign Language Policy Document: A Systemic Functional Linguistics Approach

Document Type : Original Article


Shiraz University


The present study was an attempt to investigate the perceptions of the Iranian foreign language policy makers as articulated in Iran’s foreign language policy document using a systemic functional linguistics approach. To this end, the type of processes and participants who have been used in Iran’s foreign language policy document were identified and interpreted in light of the assumptions of systemic functional linguistics and the related literature. The findings point out that the foreign language education policy document is heavily influenced by and draws on well-entrenched ideological, historical, religious, and political discourses. Further interpretations show that the FLEP document is heavily influenced by what is referred to as the Islamic ideology and discourse. In addition, applying a systemic functional linguistics approach to the document also offers a host of other interesting information about the Iranian foreign language teaching policymakers underlying perceptions about foreign language teaching and issues of globalization and imperialism. The concept of agency and how it is deemed by the Iranian foreign language practitioners was another identified topic. An investigation of the National Document of Education that includes the FLEP document as one of its subsections further showed that teachers have been appropriately described as autonomous individuals who possess the required agency to conduct and direct the classroom learning and teaching processes.  Investigations also provide information on the perceptions of the Iranian foreign language education policymakers about the age that students must begin the learning of a foreign language at school.