The Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation organized the first “Zarmanazan” summer camp from 17 July to 11 August 2017 in La Bourboule, France. This educational project is part of the Department’s Western Armenian revitalization program. Mrs. Ani Geloian & Ms. Talin Artinian, were 2 of the 15 teachers invited from around the world, to participate in this month-long training, to learn new and innovative language instruction methods.
Zarmanazan was composed of two complementary modules. First, it was a Western Armenian language immersion summer camp for children ages ten to fifteen. It created an innovative and playful world where the children lived and learned with the language intrinsically and continuously. Secondly, it offered an academic course designed for Western Armenian teachers or teachers-in-training in the Diaspora.
40 children, 20 facilitators, 15 teachers and 6 lecturers from ten different countries participated in the camp.
The Zarmanazan camp was the core component of the “Teaching Western Armenian in Diaspora” teacher training course offered by Inalco. Innovative pedagogical approaches and best practices were introduced through seminars, readers’ and writers’ workshops, and, very importantly, through practical training with the children. Based on second language acquisition and critical thinking methodologies, the course will continue throughout the year with follow up assignments. Teachers also participated in a language immersion program that was completely new to them (Portuguese), thus experiencing language acquisition challenges both as teachers and as learners.
AGM is excited to have their staff returning from this rigorous professional development, and begin implementing new techniques in Armenian instruction.