COAF Teachers Join AUA’s CTEFL to Transform Teaching in Marzes2 min read
“When our school principal learned from the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) about the possibility of studying in the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (CTEFL) program of the American University of Armenia (AUA), he immediately confirmed my participation in the program without any hesitation and even without asking me first,’’ says Liana Karapetyan, current CTEFL student, radiating an upbeat vibe throughout the entire conversation.
Liana is a beginning teacher of English in COAF’s Smart Center in Debet and in one of the public schools in Vanadzor. Along with 15 other English teachers from different schools in the Lori region, Liana joined the CTEFL program that started with a seven-week intensive study at AUA in Summer 2022.
Through a partnership between AUA and COAF, the CTEFL program was adopted as the recognized teacher training platform for the “English Speaking Rural Schools” project, implemented jointly by COAF and the U.S. Embassy in Armenia. According to COAF, “the mission of the project is to employ education-led approaches aimed at improving the quality of English language education in rural Armenia, with a particular focus on schoolchildren and English instructors.”
“Our TEFL team at AUA has been trying out new solutions to bring our teacher training programs closer to in-service teachers from remote regions of Armenia and Artsakh. This year, we joined efforts with COAF to offer CTEFL to English teachers from Lori as part of their grant program, which in turn leverages the support of the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport and the U.S. Embassy in Armenia. We believe such partnerships multiply the effects of individual players into something bigger. I hope this experience is just the beginning of our further collaboration to support English teachers from many other marzes in Armenia and Artsakh,” remarks Dr. Irshat Madyarov, AUA TEFL program chair.
The summer classes were held on the AUA campus and in COAF’s Smart Center in Debet, Lori. Yerevan’s hot summer days and Lori’s mild weather, along with sleepless nights and endless assignments, shaped the participants for a productive and skillful experience. “I’ve seen lots of positive things happening; students adjusted quickly and effectively to the intensity of the program. They continuously challenged themselves aiming to achieve more,” notes Talin Grigorian, TEFL instructor at AUA.
“The curriculum is perfectly organized. I wish all the universities could prepare teachers upon entering the classroom the way the TEFL program does,” says Alla Saroyan, current CTEFL student and English teacher at Alaverdi’s primary school.
The nine-credit CTEFL program will end in Fall 2022 with a teaching practicum component in the schools where COAF-sponsored teachers work. Of note, the CTEFL program credits earned can be transferred toward studies in the Master of Arts program in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (MA TEFL). The credits also count for teachers’ voluntary attestation and qualification upgrades with the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.