14.07.2017 | 
Education
“IT IS IMPORTANT THAT TEACHERS, DIRECTORS, RETURN TO THEIR COUNTRIES, CONTINUE, WHAT HAS BEEN STARTED HERE...”
“IT IS IMPORTANT THAT TEACHERS, DIRECTORS, RETURN TO THEIR COUNTRIES, CONTINUE, WHAT HAS BEEN STARTED HERE...”
In the “Diaspora Summer School”, besides the local specialists, there are also invited lecturers. One of them is Hakob Yakubyan, head of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences of Haigazian University of Lebanon (chairs of Pedagogy and Psychology are in its structure).

-Mr. Hakobyan, for the first year, you cooperate with “Diaspora Summer School”. How did the cooperation begin?

 

- Mher Hovhannisyan, Deputy Director of YSU Institute for Armenian Studies, invited me to teach at the “Diaspora Summer School”, and I accepted that proposal. Here I teach two directions. I teach secondary and high school teachers the subject of “Developing Critical Thinking in Teaching Armenian Studies”, that is, I teach methods that will shape critical thinking among children. I have also taught the same subjects to the group of educators, but I emphasize the fact that they, as directors, create an environment in their schools. My lectures are based on my book published last year (“Critical Thinking in Lebanese Armenian Schools”).

- What problems do we have in Armenian schools? Some of them are gradually being solved, while others are still looking for solutions. Interestingly, what problems are facing Armenian schools in the Diaspora?

- The problems in Diaspora schools are different. Since I am coming from Lebanon, we have to focus on it. Until last year we had 27 Lebanese-Armenian schools. Now this number has reduced, as five schools have been merged into a new nationwide college. One of the difficulties facing Armenian Studies is that the age of teachers is quite high. We are working with YSU Institute for Armenian Studies. We have an agreement to prepare new staff for us.

- What is the reason? Young people do not want to become a pedagogue?

- Many young people study pedagogy. The lowest number of those chooses Armenian language or Armenian history. Now we have a group which receives a bachelor’s degree in Haigazian, then comes to Yerevan State University to study in magistracy. After graduation they return and become Armenian language, Armenian history teacher. In other words, there is a problem but, fortunately, we have found the solution. The second problem is the scarcity of Western Armenian sources in Lebanese-Armenian schools. Teachers do not have sufficient resources and literature. The other difficulty is that the Lebanese state education program does not include the Armenian language, Armenian history, culture, history of the Armenian Church, etc.

 

- If the subjects are not included in the state program, how is it organized?

- The Lebanese law says that at least you should provide the state program. You are free to add subjects and we freely teach Armenian subjects. In this case, the only problem is that during the course of the week, there are fewer lessons for these subjects alongside the state program. Although I have to say that some Armenian colleges have more hours for Armenian Studies than others.

 

- The “Diaspora Summer School” course lasts for a month. By your professional assessment, is this time enough for the participants to get some skills and knowledge?

- Certainly, it is a short time, but it can become a starting point. This summer school is important to me because it creates an atmosphere and conditions where people are thinking and asking questions. I hope when they go back to their countries, they will change something. However, we will not see this change in a month, and we need to spend more time to notice this. It is important for me that teachers, principals, returning to their countries, continue what has begun here, consciously changing things in their work.

- Though you have been to Armenia for many times, you cooperate with YSU for the first time. Have you already established any ties here?

 

- Yes, this was a good opportunity to learn the practice of Yerevan State University. Besides my lessons, I have also been attending my colleagues’ lessons to understand how they think, what approaches show to pedagogy, how different they are. I also learned a lot from my students, because each one had brought his experience with him. This is a personal start point for me. I became familiar with the educational system of Armenia. I have also met with the specialists of the Chair of Pedagogy of YSU Faculty of Armenian Philology, and I hope that the next practical steps will be taken. It is very important for me to have my little contribution to Armenia.

Interview by Tsovinar Karapetyan

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