The new generation of Teach For Armenia getting ready for September - Mediamax.am

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The new generation of Teach For Armenia getting ready for September


Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia


When remembering her numerous visits to Artsakh, Rita never forgets about the children she has met there.

 

“They had so much potential for studying and discovering something new. But there were communities that had no schools, there were even children who didn’t attend school; it pained them to say that they didn’t know English or Russian because they didn’t have teachers to teach those subjects,” remembers Rita Babayan.

 

The idea of going back to Artsakh as a teacher has been on her mind for a long time. During the pandemic Rita had a lot of spare time on her hands and began looking for new programs. She discovered Teach for Armenia, which offered an opportunity to work in Artsakh.

 

Rita is a philologist, a Russian language specialist. She has worked in preschool for a long time, and is currently employed. The decision to give up a well-paid job came as a shock to her relatives. But Rita has no doubt that her heart guides her in the right direction.

 

Rita has passed all the stages of Teach For Armenia and reached the final one- the Summer Academy. During a 7-week intensive training course, selected participants receive theoretical and practical knowledge and skills, so that they are ready to work as a teacher and a leader in school come September.

 

The Summer Academy was usually held in one of the regions of Armenia. This year it is held online like all the stages. The program kicked off on June 22 and will end on August 7.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

“I have applied for Teach For Armenia without having any expectations for myself, but now I understand that I will achieve a lot both professionally and humanely and will grow myself. We learn a lot of new things in terms of methodology and teaching techniques, develop new skills in ourselves,” says Rita.

 

Rita hopes that the pandemic situation will improve by September and she will leave for Artsakh and communicate with children in person not online.

 

Without losing hope that things will go back to normal, but also being ready for the new situation, Teach Armenia Foundation has changed its entire program.

 

“This year we are using the teaching method based on changes. TFA has adapted Apple’s Challenge-based learning theory, replacing “challenge” with “change”. Our communities have endless possibilities: you just have to find ways to use them properly. We want to achieve these changes through education.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

We are teaching the participants how to organize distance learning. During this time, they will be working with children remotely for 3 weeks, learning all the nuances. The last week of the Academy is the adaptation stage. All the knowledge and skills gained to conduct classes online should be analyzed and projected to offline work. We are getting ready for both variants of teaching.

 

The whole program will be built around this. It’s an innovative approach that we are using for the first time. Our long-term goal is to share this approach with our partner schools if it turns out to be a success,” says Nara Magtaghyan, Regional Director at Teach For Armenia.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

This year, 1200 people applied for the program. After passing several stages, only 70 participants from almost all the regions of Armenia, Artsakh, Lebanon, France, Russia, Georgia and Syria, qualified for the Summer Academy.

 

Many of them didn’t have pedagogical education. They choose the subject they can teach by profession, and through training they get acquainted with teaching methods and gain necessary skills. Throughout the 2 years of the program, Teacher-leaders are working with the teachers.

 

This is the second year in a row that current teachers have joined the program: 7 teachers have been selected. They will continue working in their communities using new methods.

 

Current teachers can join Teach For Armenia

 

“Since every year we say goodbye to one generation of teachers and welcome the next one, it is very important for us to always have the right shift. We assess the situation and see what teachers are needed in which community. There is a great demand for science and foreign language teachers. We have tried to involve all the specialists who are needed: foreign language, history, mathematics, informatics, physical education, elementary school teachers. Unfortunately, we do not have physics teachers,” says Nara Magtaghyan.

 

Academy participants are working in small subject groups. Although the mentors are helping them throughout the training, project coordinators value the participants’ ability to study and analyze the material independently.

 

The first week was lees busy. The participants had more time to get to know each other.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

“The participants are very excited to have an opportunity to educate children and have an impact on the community. Many of them say they are motivated, learn new tools online and more deeply understand our approaches, their mission, and they have become more confident in teamwork.

 

Our goal is for them to be able to learn independently and be initiative, because online education will require them to develop those skills. They watch our videos on their own, do the homework and analyze. If you want to be a good leader, you must have high self-awareness, be able to analyze the work you have done, see the positive and the directions for improvement. This is important, so that during their future activity they could do much more in-depth analysis,” says Irina Manukyan, TFA Leadership Development Manager.

 

Two weeks later, when future teachers have the necessary theoretical knowledge, the practical stage will begin - working with children.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

In previous years, the summer school was organized for the students of the community where the Academy was held. As the “Student Leadership Camp” will also be online this year, 300 students from 24 communities will take part in it. The program provides them with necessary technical means for the lessons.

 

 

In April, Teach For Armenia launched “End the digital divide” fundraising campaign, aimed at providing students in rural areas of Armenia and Artsakh with technology and internet connectivity, so that they are not left out of the educational process during distance learning. The fundraising continues.

 

Lusine Gharibyan

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