The Diocese’s Armenian Studies Department hosted an Armenian Teachers’ Symposium on Saturday September 12, at the Diocesan Center in New York. The daylong gathering focused on “Blended Learning”—the use of technology in traditional instruction—and drew more than 50 educators from Diocesan Armenian Schools.
The symposium opened with a prayer led by Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian.
Artoun Hamalian, director of the Education Department at AGBU, gave a talk titled “Identity, Culture, Education: Prospects, Priorities, Resources.” He said that the development of a student’s identity is the main goal of the Armenian School program. He went on to speak about the importance of Armenian Schools in the diaspora, and invited teachers to identify priorities that need to be addressed to improve learning.
Natalie Gabrelian, director of Scholarships and Alternative Education at AGBU, and Lusine Keropyan, an associate in the AGBU Education Department, presented new digital resources for language instruction. They introduced AGBU’s new app, “Gus on the Go: Eastern or Western Armenian for Kids,” which helps children learn colors, numbers, animals, and other Armenian vocabulary.
Another app, called “Im Armenia” (My Armenia), is an illustrated guide to the main attractions of Yerevan. The app teaches basic Eastern Armenian words and fun facts about the places a young traveler might visit in Armenia’s capital.
For adults, AGBU has created an interactive e-book, titled “Exploring Yerevan: A Look Inside the City’s Past & Present.” The book includes day-trip ideas, historical information, and visuals.
Another e-book, “The Armenian Highland,” available in seven languages, offers an overview of the region with particular emphasis on Armenia’s geography and history from ancient to modern times.
Gilda Buchakjian, the Diocese’s Armenian Studies director, addressed the subjects of blended learning and parental involvement. She recommended ways to strengthen parental involvement in the learning process.
She spoke about the Diocese’s Armenian Studies blog, which highlights the department’s cultural and pedagogical work. She also spoke about the recent work of the Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Diaspora.
Participants received copies of the prayer for the intercession of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. They were informed that on November 1, Armenian Schools will be closed as parishes across the Eastern Diocese hold a special program to consecrate replicas of the new icon of the Holy Martyrs in their local churches.
Educators then viewed “A Great Cloud of Witnesses: The Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide,” a new documentary film produced by the Eastern Diocese’s Communications Department. Through interviews with scholars and religious leaders, the film explores the significance of this year’s canonization of the Holy Martyrs of 1915, and the larger meaning of sainthood and martyrdom in the Christian tradition.
The symposium concluded with a presentation on the history of Armenian education, from the 19th century to today.
Representatives from the following Armenian Schools attended the symposium: St. Vartan Armenian School of New York; Diocese’s Khrimian Lyceum; Mesrob Mashdots Institute of New York; Holy Martyrs Language School of Bayside, NY; St. Gregory the Enlightener Church School of White Plains, NY; Kirikian School of Tenafly, NJ; St. Mary Church School of Livingston, NJ; St. Leon Armenian School of Fair Lawn, NJ; and Holy Ascension Church School of Trumbull, CT.