“Seroond Schools” project kicks off from Tavush - Mediamax.am

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“Seroond Schools” project kicks off from Tavush


Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Alexander Plato Hakobyan
Alexander Plato Hakobyan

Photo: Mediamax


Until 2019, getting from Takhta district of Dilijan to another part of the town was a big problem, especially in winter. Due to bad roads and public transport that worked for certain hours of the day only, people living in Takhta have been isolated in their district surrounded by mountains.

 

To make things easier for at least elementary school students, the branch of Dilijan School No. 2 opened in Takhta district. Out of approx. 700 students of the school, 70 study here.

 

It was also due to this isolation and unequal conditions that Teach For Armenia Educational Foundation decided to launch its “Seroond Schools” project in Takhta.

 

“The main goal of the project is to reimagine education by equipping our students with the skills to innovate and navigate a rapidly changing world. We aim to do this by promoting emotional development and project-based learning. COVID-19 has shown us how important to cultivate resilience and the ability to overcome obstacles with creative thinking,” says Alexander Plato Hakobyan, Deputy Director of Teach for Armenia Strategic Initiatives.

Alexander Plato Hakobyan Alexander Plato Hakobyan

Photo: Mediamax

After working in the communities of Armenia and Artsakh for 6 years, getting acquainted with the challenges and problems, TFA Alumni Ambassadors have realized that the problem is not only the provision of quality education but also the approach towards children. Very often their leadership potential and talents remain undiscovered, they are also ignored when choosing a career.

 

Young people living in active tourist areas get involved in the service sector from school age. Alexander says that it is an important job too, but it is necessary to understand what else they can do. The Teach For Armenia team has come to Takhta district of Dilijan because it believes that good education will reveal a talented violinist here or a physician worthy of a Nobel Prize.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

“The ‘nexus’ in our pilot is the teacher working with the students. We are going to help the teachers work with a methodology that will enable them to discover the potential of children and develop their socio-emotional skills. The traditional schools treat subject knowledge as though it’s sequential from A to Z, at Seroond Schools, what we are trying to do is help to show students that in reality there are hundreds of alphabets out there and when you combine them with numbers the possibilities become exponential.

 

It is very important for us to bring up a future citizen with an advanced social and emotional intelligence and high self-awareness,  who will be able to respond to challenges creatively in order to innovate locally using global solutions.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

In August, the teachers of Dilijan School No. 2 got acquainted with “Seroond Schools” project. The organizers held team and individual meetings with those who were willing to join the project and selected nine teachers who would work at Takhta branch - four elementary school teachers, four teachers teaching various subjects and one Teacher’s Assistant. Three experienced specialists - TFA alumni and project enthusiasts - will be working with them for two school years.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

“We are going to help reorganize the classrooms in line with the Ministry's guidelines by September 15. Between September 15-30, we will only attend classes and make observations. After that, we will work with the teachers individually throughout the week, from observations to counseling, coaching and mentoring, and in the end, we will develop recommendations in order to personalize support for the teachers at Takha school.

 

We have special manuals for teachers, and if necessary, a guide for working with individual teachers will be developed. Our goal is not to lose the contribution made to the development of their professional skills,” says Alexander Plato Hakobyan, adding that their task is to make the school more useful for our students, so that our millennial cultural heritage and the knowledge transferred to the students is not burdensome, but a motivation at the same time without changing the content of the taught subjects.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

Alexander says this ambitious project could not be implemented alone without the support of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Tavush Governor Hayk Chobanyan, and the “Kizazi” international educational network.

 

It’s a pilot project. The expected results will be visible in years to come, but an ongoing assessment will be also made. Although they have a clear strategy, developed programs, and sequence of actions, the team of “Seroond Schools” believes that they will get answers to many questions in the process and make necessary changes.

Photo: Teach For Armenia

“This is a very long-term initiative. We believe that 15 years from now, when today's students become parents, this community will be very different. It is important for us that education does not become a reason for migration and parents understand that Tavush is not neglected and here they have an excellent educational unit where their children can study.

 

The authors of the initiative hope to have a “Seroond Schools” network by 2026.

 

Lusine Gharibyan

 

Photos: Emin Aristakesyan and Teach For Armenia archive

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