Collaboration is the pledge to success

Marina Mkrtchyan

Effectiveness of a lesson process depends on the teacher and students’ collaborative work. Much has been spoken and written about the method of collaborative work. Therefore, the aim of this article is not the theoretical description of this method. My key objective is to show the practical application of this method.     

When my task was to present the ritual performance “Wedding – Wedding” with the primary school learners of Basic and Art Schools at our Media Friday show, I knew for sure what preparation work I would do. At first I taught all the learners of the mentioned primary schools the selected songs and dances appropriate to this ritual. The primary school teachers helped me much with this task revising all the songs and dances during their music lessons. The image of the ritual performance was formed as we worked with learners. It seemed that there was no problem, and everything would be as it had been planned. But every time we began rehearsing the performance children’s seeming knowledge vanished, although the teaching of the songs and dances had been done by performing everything. From my own many years’ experience I know that consolidation of the learned material demands time during which children remember everything without straining their memory.                    

Sometimes it seemed to me that nothing would come out and we wouldn’t manage o do it. One of the impeding circumstances was that we dealt with different schools, different classes. Rehearsals in each school seemed successful. Role distribution was another difficult task. How to do it? The joint rehearsal would have been a failure if I had chosen actors from different schools. I decided to give the parts with texts to the learners of Grade 3 of the Art Primary School. The learners of the Basic School were given the parts without texts. Now in each school the rehearsal seemed to be a success.

The dolls “Bride” and “Groom” were also made in a collaborative way. Gohar Baljyan from the Basic School is an interesting and unique type of a personality. She performed important work with learners and in the result of this collaborative work we obtained two original dolls. Gohar was only worried about the fact that the dolls didn’t have eyes but we admitted that the dolls without eyes were even closer to the images of their characters. We were not mistaken.   

During the joint rehearsal it turned out that even with a very sparing text we had the problem of being audible as the children had the discomfort of passing the microphone from hand to hand. I could have used an already recorded text but I found another solution. Why do we willingly play with children in all situations but we leave them alone on the stage. Do they need us only behind the stage? I decided to collaborate with our teachers Vahram Toqmajyan, Mary Arakelyan,Sofia Grigoryan and Svetlana Siradeghyan, a student from our Vocational School. I gave each of them a role of an interactive spectator. I think it was a success. I especially liked the part of the strict clergyman played by Vahram, and his final conclusion was surprisingly well done.        

 Most of our teachers and learners of senior classes took part in our ritual performance and helped to make it a real festivity for everybody. To present a large piece of musical creation with children is difficult and time consuming work. Choosing music for such occasions becomes the most difficult and important thing to do. Every time I wonder whether it can be considered to be within our educational programme, or whether it will be interesting for my learners. I also try to answer such questions as: what will this music give to them? Will it inspire them? Will I be able to present the material in a creative coloring.  When I manage to meet all these requirements of mine I feel I am not afraid of children’s criticizing eyes. If you also see those burning eyes, if you see the innocent and bright expression on their faces, you will understand why I become fearless.        

What do I appreciate in the performed work? Most of all I give importance to children’s acting-playful environment in which we could involve what is ritual, national folk songs and dances, folk lore, the learners’ and teachers’ collaboration in one field. In our case it was our concert.    


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