Shiva Rahmani

Rahmani Headshot
Assistant Instructional Professor in the Department of Germanic Studies and Humanities Collegiate Division
Cobb 505
Office Hours: By appointment only
MA in Germanic Studies, Purdue University, 2014; MA in German with a focus on Translation Science; University of Tehran, 2011; BA in German Literature, Shahid Beheshti University, 2008; Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Fashion Design.
Teaching at UChicago since 2018
Research Interests: The realms of language pedagogy, domain analysis, cross-cultural research, the intricacies of religious history and belief systems in German literature, artificial intelligence in language education, and the integration of tech into teaching and language

In 2018, I joined the University of Chicago and began teaching German courses from novice to advanced, including the Intensive Course. When I was only forty days old, my family emigrated from Iran to Germany. Having been raised in Heidelberg, German was my first language. Growing up in Germany and speaking German fluently, I have a strong understanding of the language and its nuances. My experience with this language has been beneficial to my students, as I am able to teach them the intricacies of the culture as well as the language itself.

My undergraduate studies in German were completed at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, and my graduate studies in German translation were completed at the University of Tehran. As a result of my move to the United States in 2012, I obtained another graduate degree in Germanic Studies from Purdue University. For two years prior to coming to the University of Chicago, I taught introductory German courses at Purdue University, as well as managed the German Culture Club. I then joined the Goethe Institute in Chicago in 2016 and continue to teach there today. With my move to the United States, I was given the opportunity to further my studies in Germanic Studies and grow my knowledge of the language and culture. Through teaching at Purdue University and managing the German Culture Club, I was able to share and deepen my understanding of the language and German culture. My experience at the Goethe Institute in Chicago has enabled me to continue teaching and sharing my passion with others.

As part of the intensive course sequence, I have also developed the course curriculum for the second and third parts. It is a course I call Deutschlandreise! It is a journey through different German and international cities of cultural, political, and literary significance. This course is designed to explore the history and culture of Germany through a range of activities, such as visiting historic sites, studying relevant documents, and engaging in stimulating debates.

In addition to teaching, I am also responsible for organizing and coordinating cultural and social events for students of the German language program and anyone interested in the German language and culture. Additionally, I serve as the sponsor of the German Club at the University of Chicago. This allows me to use my expertise to create an inclusive environment for students to engage with the language and culture through meaningful and creative activities. It also allows me to foster a sense of community and belonging among the students, as well as to provide them with an opportunity to build relationships with their peers.

Furthermore, I hold a deep fascination for the symbiotic relationship between artificial intelligence and language education. In addition to foreign language pedagogy, I am also interested in integrating technology into language teaching, revisiting songs in language pedagogy, and religious history and belief systems. My unbridled passion lies in leveraging my knowledge and experience to craft innovative approaches that captivate language learners and foster profound engagement.

As an academic, I have written and presented papers on the effects of cultural and religious beliefs on a variety of translated literary works.

Furthermore, I have written and presented on German and Persian mythology, as well as their influence on culture, traditions, and literature. My current research focuses on the integration of technology into language teaching as a tool to facilitate language learning. I am particularly interested in exploring how technology can be used to create a more immersive and interactive learning environment, and how it can be used to bridge the gap between traditional and modern methods of language teaching. I am also looking at how technology can be used to cater to the individual needs of each student. To this end, I am conducting studies to evaluate and assess the efficacy of the various technologies available for language teaching and learning and to gain a better understanding of how to optimize their use for the best possible learning outcomes.

Intellectual Profile

  • As part of the University of Chicago's Spring Workshop Series on April 24, 2019, she presented on Lesson plan of the day: Engaging activities and tasks.
  • She developed a new curriculum designed for the second & third quarters of the intensive course sequence at the University of Chicago and titled it Deutschlandreise.
  • A presentation on music in the German classroom was given by her at the University of Chicago's German department in March 2020.
  • During the shared LCTL Symposium with Michigan State University in August 2020, she presented a lightning talk on best practices and approaches to virtual instruction.
  • At the University of Chicago's Autumn Workshop Series, on October 27, 2020, she presented a workshop entitled Using games to promote interaction in online and hybrid courses.
  • As a panelist, she participated in a panel discussion entitled, "Flipping the Online Classroom: Creative Methods for Engaging Students." on January 8, 2021.
  • At the MWALLT 2021 conference on Game-based teaching on February 13, 2021, she presented a lightning talk on Google Jamboards and games.
  • On March 2, 2021, she served as a panelist on the topic of Hypothesis at the University of Chicago (CLC Language Center).
  • She presented on Google Jamboard at The ALL London (Association for Language Learning London Branch) on May 6, 2021.
  • She presented at the 2021 Chicago Language Symposium on April 17 entitled "Using memes to promote interaction and spark collaboration in online and hybrid classes."
  • On Wednesday, October 20, 2021, she presented at GETVICO 24, a 24-hour virtual conference on German language pedagogy, on the topic of using memes to promote collaboration and interaction in hybrid and online courses.
  • She presented at the CLC winter workshop in March 2022 on the use of comics in the classroom as a means of discussing cultural and political issues.
  • As part of Emerging Realities in Language Teaching and Learning at NEALLT 2022 (Columbia University), she presented Using comics in the language classroom as a means of discussing cultural and political issues on April 9, 2022.
  • She presented at the 2022 Symposium for Teaching with Technology on Using comics in the language classroom as a means of discussing cultural or political issues
  • The Role of Assessment in the Reverse Design of Curriculum was the topic of her poster presentation at the LARC-MwALT-ECOLT Language Assessment Research conference on September 16, 2022
  • A new platform called der/die/das, developed by Jamie Rankin was piloted by her for the first two-quarters of the intensive sequence.
  • She then redesigned the entire first-year language program in collaboration with Dr. Maeve Hooper using der/die/das as its main platform.
  • Through the use of its former name, "Kunst und Kultur," she created a new course that integrates German culture, identity, and current world issues. Through this course, she was able to provide an immersive learning experience for students through the use of real-life examples, historical context, and cultural resources. She also developed a curriculum that promoted critical thinking and encouraged students to explore their own identities within the context of German culture.
  • Germany Heute ("Germany Today") is a course she designed and developed as an intermediate-level German language course in 2021 for students who have taken one year of college German. Through this course, students will gain a deeper understanding of current events, politics, and contemporary culture in Germany. This course focuses on topics that are relevant to today's German society and culture, such as the integration of immigrants, the rise of right-wing populism, and the current debates on the European Union. It also provides a platform for students to practice their language skills and engage in meaningful conversations with native speakers.
  • In August 2020, she developed a landing page for the German department's website. In addition, she developed success videos with tips and tricks for future students to succeed in an intensive course.
  • She developed the College's Language Competency Assessment for German to fulfill the University of Chicago College's language requirement for Learners of German who have completed one year of language instruction outside of the University of Chicago or students with prior experience learning this language outside of UChicago trying to meet the college's language requirement.
  • In February 2019, she completed an intensive course on online teaching pedagogy at the Goethe Institute and received an online teaching certificate.
  • In 2018/2019, she received an examiner's certification/Prüferzertifikat from the Goethe Institute Chicago, allowing her to take exams and level tests at different proficiency levels.
  • In October 2019, she received the digital badge for in-service online language teachers for completing Selecting and adapting materials for online language learning from the National Foreign Language Resource Center.
  • ACTFL (The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) awarded her the OPI tester certification in 2019
  • She received the Excellence Graduate Teacher Certificate from the Purdue Teaching Academy.
  • To bring a variety of perspectives to the table during the pandemic in 2020, she created virtual coffee hours in collaboration with renowned universities nationwide and abroad. This allowed the students to gain insights from different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and to foster meaningful connections despite the physical distance.
  • At the Annual Conference of Challenges and Necessities Regarding Culture in the Quality of Teaching Foreign Languages, December 2011, Tehran, she presented on the influence of different cultural belief systems and the impact of superstition on translation.
  • Based on Emily Weider's workshop at MWALLT 2020 about using Instagram to collate a personal dictionary and to emphasize vocabulary over grammar, she created ProjectDeutschIG for students studying the German language.
  • Furthermore, she created DeutsCHIgUeberall, a YouTube channel for the German department where students will post videos on various German-related topics.
  • Her IRB certification was received in December 2022 after completing the Social and Behavioral Sciences IRB Human Subjects Protection Training Course.
  • Currently, she is working with the German department to create a blog (Blogademia) to share resources and reflections, as well as to demonstrate thoughtful engagement with pedagogy.
  • Additionally, she is pursuing the Grünes Diplom (the standard qualification for teachers of German as a Foreign Language at Goethe-Instituts around the world). The program includes classroom observation, training in methodology and didactics, collaborative teaching, cultural studies, and German language courses at the C1 level.
  • At present, she is also involved in creating cross-university conversation cafés-consortiums.
  • Among her initiatives are Creative Language Experiences, digital tools, and apps that foster student learning and interaction
  • She had the opportunity to present at the Princeton Consortium Workshop on AI on October 7, 2023.  You can find more details about the event here: Link 
  • She delivered a presentation on the integration of ChatGPT into language education at the CLC Fall Quarter Workshops held on October 26, 2023, under the title "Integrating ChatGPT into Language Education."
  • She was invited to serve as a guest speaker at Princeton University on November 9, 2023, where she delivered a core workshop for graduate students titled "Harnessing ChatGPT for Innovative Language Education." The event aimed to explore the innovative potential of ChatGPT in language education. Further details about the workshop can be found at the following link:
  • She delivered a presentation on "Proficiency-Oriented Reverse Design: Realigning a German Program" at the ACTFL 2023 conference held on November 17, 2023, in Chicago.
  • She was invited as a guest speaker at the Lauder Institute at UPenn on November 27, 2023, to deliver a presentation titled: "Harnessing ChatGPT for Innovative Language Education: Personalized and Interactive Language Practice for Students and Instructors."
  • On March 2, 2024, she delivered a presentation at the MWALLT 2024 conference at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, focusing on "Harnessing ChatGPT for Innovative Language Education: Personalized and Interactive Language Practice for Students."
  • Subsequently, on May 2-3, 2024, she presented at the 7th International Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes (ISLSP) & Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) Business Language Conference, discussing "Using Language for Experiences Abroad: A Domain Analysis."
  • Her most recent project includes leading a domain analysis group on experiences abroad, designing a course on LSP (language for specific purposes) and developing a course on psychology titled Psycho-Cultural Exploration: Unraveling Identity through German Lens
  • Her most recent project includes leading a domain analysis group on experiences abroad, designing a course on LSP (language for specific purposes), developing a course on psychology titled Psycho-Cultural Exploration: Unraveling Identity through German Lens, as well as publishing a pedagogical handbook and an academic article on ChatGPt in language education.


  • GRMN 12001 Intensive German 1
  • GRMN 12002 Intensive German 2
  • GRMN 12003 Intensive German 3 (Deutschlandreise)
  • GRMN 10200 4 Elementary German For Beginners
  • GRMN 10201 Elementary German for Advanced Beginners
  • GRMN 20100 Deutsche Märchen (3 sections)
  • GRMN 20101 91 Deutschland Heute
  • GRMN 20301 1 Kunst und Kultur