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MATEFL Organizes Workshop for Armenian Teachers

2 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — On September 13, the American University of Armenia (AUA) College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (MATEFL) program organized a workshop on “Teaching Young Learners Armenian as a Second Language.” The first part of the event was conducted in Armenian by CRAL Research Associate and MATEFL Instructor Dr. Irena Galikyan and dedicated to discussing the challenges instructors face when teaching Eastern Armenian in Armenia, focusing on the intricacies of how children learn a new language.

Dr. Galikyan highlighted several important points, including learning new vocabulary, focusing on the most frequent words, purposeful and incidental learning, and the significance of repetition. The participants actively engaged in these topical discussions and eagerly shared their classroom experiences, particularly in relation to the instructional strategies they used for teaching 4th and 7th graders. 

During the second part of the event, Professor Aldo Rodríguez, director of the Language Policies Office for the Uruguayan Government, and Professor Javier Polatian, director of the AGBU Nubarian School in Montevideo, presented the pedagogical principles behind “Luys yev Armen,” an Eastern Armenian textbook they recently published in Uruguay. Both speakers elaborated on the diverse teaching approaches used in Armenia and Uruguay, highlighting the inclusive and communicative language teaching pedagogies implemented in the textbook. The workshop participants had the opportunity to review the textbook and discuss questions related to Armenian identity and the language in Armenia and abroad.

“We are deeply passionate about this initiative and are eager to share it with schools in Armenia. I believe that collectively, we can do such that our students learn better,” stated Prof. Aldo Rodríguez. 

At the end of the event, several attending teachers also shared their views on the current approach of teaching Armenian as a second language in Armenia. Hasmik Hambardzumyan, a public school teacher, mentioned: “Unfortunately, the textbooks in our schools do not fully meet the needs of the students who do not understand or speak the language; it is crucial to make changes and maybe also consider the ‘Luys yev Armen’ textbook.” 

Anahit Hovhannisyan, head of the Armenian Language group at Ayb school, also emphasized, “As Prof. Javier Polatian said, teaching Armenian as a second language and especially this textbook raises the significance of connecting language with identity and how that can influence learning Armenian in the diaspora.”

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 and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.