LISBON — The Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has initiated a new teacher development program me in Lebanon. Partnering with the Department of Education at the Lebanese American University (LAU), the Foundation is supporting the custom-made In-Service Teacher Development program for teachers in Armenian schools who instruct in the Armenian language.

The Foundation developed in 2019 a comprehensive strategy specifically for Lebanon, focusing on schools, educational programs and the Armenian language. One of the important elements of the strategy is the need for a targeted program for teachers to encourage innovative educational approaches and promote critical thinking.

Designed and to be delivered by LAU’s Department of Education, this innovative program is a two-year course that will incorporate theoretical and practical components. Topics will include curriculum and instructional design, educational theories, child psychology, special education and assessment of student learning. A strong practical segment will encourage teachers to apply the knowledge and skills developed during the coursework within the contexts of their classrooms.

“We must go beyond praising the heroic work of teachers; we must provide them with the necessary tools, the pedagogical knowledge and the skills needed to engage with students in the 21st century,” said Razmik Panossian, the Director of the Armenian Communities Department. He added, “The LAU program is a crucial step in this direction. By developing further expertise in the transmission of the Armenian language to future generations, teachers will enable students to think, communicate, discover and create in Western Armenian.”

The development program will start in the fall semester of 2021. It will be free of charge, but with a limited number of places. Interested teachers must submit an application directly to the LAU. Participants will receive a certificate from LAU after successfully completing the program. At the conclusion of the project, a teaching manual will also be published, in Armenian and in English.

The In-Service Teacher Development program at the LAU is a major component of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s engagement with the Armenian community in Lebanon. Other initiatives include direct school support and the provision of IT equipment, grants for creative culture in Armenian, humanitarian aid, support to special education, university scholarships and funding for various other education or language related initiatives.

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