AUA Students Teach English and Environmental Responsibility to Children in Rural Villages

Yerevan, Armenia–Ninety-one school children from Karakert and Hatsik villages successfully completed classes about environmental issues in English, designed by Anna Alaverdyan and Dianna Torosyan, graduating students from AUA’s Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (MA TEFL).

To tailor the content to the different ages and English proficiency levels of children, the curriculum was organized in two courses, each comprising 30 hours of instruction: one for elementary English learners and the other one for pre-intermediate English learners. The piloting of the courses was made possible through the support of the Norwegian Embassy Small Grant Program. These courses were also Anna’s and Dianna’s capstone projects.

        “Anna’s and Dianna’s projects represent a synergy of two sources of support: a capstone course and an external grant that made the final product available to children in rural areas. This synergy has motivated our students to produce capstones of exceptional quality and make a tangible impact in rural communities. This opportunity has also brought together important players in education in Armenia: Children of Armenia Fund and Peace Corps Armenia, our partners in making this project happen,” comments Irshat Madyarov, the students’ capstone adviser.

The two courses are designed based on the content-based instruction approach and have a dual purpose: to teach children English and raise their awareness of key environmental issues: climate change, threats to ecosystems, overuse of natural resources, and other human impacts on the environment. Children are encouraged to become environmentally responsible citizens through the well-known reduce-reuse-recycle principle, science projects, analysis of local problems, and community service.

One of the courses is now being prepared for printing with the support of the AUA’s Acopian Center for the Environment.

A summary of the piloting of the two courses is available at the following link: sites.google.com/site/envenglishcoursesinarmenia/home.

This project was one of the 10 winners of the Environmental Education Micro Project Competition. The winning projects represent the best from a pool of 130 applications from across the country. The competition was administered by the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. A selection team, comprising EEN members, reviewed and made the final decisions on the competition’s winners.

The Competition was financially supported by the Norwegian Embassy Small Grant Program. The aim of the Norwegian grant was to develop environmental education capacities in Armenia, including the establishment and strengthening of the Environmental Education Network (EEN), a learning partnership between civil society, educational institutions, government, and international organizations.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides US-style education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.

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Students in Hatsik learn how to filter dirty water.

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Students in Karakert plant trees as part of the course’s community service.

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Students in Hatsik present a poster about planet Earth.