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Teacher Training Within Erasmus+ Inclusion Project Hosted at AUA

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YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ On April 29-30, 2019, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a two-day training for 50 high school teachers of Armenia within the framework of the Erasmus+ Inclusion Project. The main objective of the training was to prepare teachers for inclusive education introducing them to specific examples, solutions, and methodology in learning and teaching practices. The training was designed to communicate the best practices to make academic classes more accessible to children with disabilities.

Following the welcoming remarks delivered by AUA Provost Dr. Randall Rhodes, the  Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia (RA), Lusine Arakelyan, presented the national regulatory framework for inclusive education and the steps envisaged in the Government’s draft strategy.

The Executive Director of “UNISON” NGO Armen Alaverdyan, talked about disability terminology and ethics in communication with people with disabilities, by presenting a number of case scenarios for discussion.  

Dr. Irshat Madyarov, chair of the AUA Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (MA TEFL) program, presented the Universal Learning Design, which sets forth the principles of curriculum development and application by educators of all grades and subject areas such that it provides all pupils with an equal opportunity to learn.

The session on the second day began with a reflection on awareness raising issues within international and local regulatory frameworks, presented by Hayk Mkrtchyan, expert in inclusive education practices. Subsequently, the new draft toolkit on inclusive learning and teaching was introduced to the audience by Mimi Zarookian, adjunct lecturer at AUA’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences (CHSS). The inclusion teams of AUA and State Academy of Fine Arts of Armenia (SAFAA) had developed a toolkit entailing methodological tools and other teaching resources. In the next phase, the priority is to test the toolkit’s utility for use in the classroom and receptivity by high school teachers. The session was followed by interactive case study discussions conducted by AUA and SAFAA staff on teaching practices frequently encountered by teachers.

The training concluded with the following outcome statement: while teachers value diversity and their classroom materials and curriculum reflect this value, pupils can develop essential skills that have been proven to counter prejudice and create understanding.

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 a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.