The knowledge acquired in the result of creative work is always with the learner

Assessment of the second period of the educational programme being implemented in the Educational Complex with an example of a single educational camp

It is already several years, that January and February educational review camps are held at Yerevan “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educational Complex. The June reviews are as follows: “Translational”, “Theatrical”, “Musical”, and “Film Making and Photo Taking”. In June we also have the International Friendship Camp with the participation of students and educators from different schools of Georgia, Artsakh and different regions of Armenia.

   The January Educational Camp of the educational complex is signified with the annual Digitech, natural-technical and sporting reviews. Besides taking part in the above-mentioned reviews, all the schools of the Educomplex are fully involved in project-based teaching-learning process, implementing various camp projects, such as: educational trips, projects when learners share their knowledge and skills with other learners,national traditional games held on the farm, sports review, visiting museums, master classes given by invited specialists, ritual week (making ritual wedding puddings and hand-made wedding souvenirs).

Project-based teaching varies from traditional teaching with its fully student-centered nature which is based on the students’ activities when they don't reproduce what the teacher says or what is written in the book, but create their own with their research experimental work and achieve their goal. In fact, the educational camps organized in the educational complex prove the old Chinese saying: “Tell me, and I will forget; show me, and I may remember; involve me, and I will understand".

“Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educational Complex has four primary schools with pre-school groups, Middle and High schools, and a College of Vocational Education.It has turned out that our four primary schools coincide with the four sides of the world as compared with the main building, the Mother School, of the Educomplex where The High and Middle Schools are housed. Taking into account this fact, our four primary schools are named as follows: the Northern School-garden, the Southern School-garden, the Eastern School-garden and the Western School-garden.   

In this article I present my observations on January 8-9 and on January 23-24 in the Western School-Garden camp, showing the projects at the beginning of their implementation and their results at the end of the camp.

So the start of the Winter Educational Review Camp has been given.I wonder what educational projects the 4th and 5th graders are working on. Before going to the school I study the educational blogs of the teachers working in these classes. At first, I am interested in the activities of the learners who are engaged in the translational projects. Lilit Haykazuni has started a new project “Reading the fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen in Armenian and presenting their adapted contents in easy English”.

In Elina Simonyan’s blog,I read about the Russian translational projects. It is worth noting that the project "In the world of animals", is both research and translational.

 From the culinary project of the mathematicians, it is seen that Greta Bakunts persistently wants to link Math teaching with real life. Indeed, the most obvious explanation for the idea of the fracture is in the kitchen, while cutting a freshly baked round pie.

   The activity of Shoushan Alexanyan's natural science project includes taking care of the animals on the farm and the plants both in the Western School and the College, in Shoghik Poghosyan's Greenhouse Laboratory.

The main project being carried out by Sona Papazian's country study group is “Traditional National Games”.

The key project of Sona Papazian's Country Study group is “National and traditional games”.

The list of activities of Zara Voskanyan' group is diverse. Here is an example from that list: "Yerevan with 2800 problems", local and global, small and big issues of Yerevan with their descriptions and suggestions for their solution.

Armine Abrahamyan has set a promising and interesting goal for her creative readers:  design and creation of the laboratory-reading hall for Creation and design workshop of a“ Native language laboratory-reading hall in the Western School-garden.

The nature and essence of all the project groups is to create something. 

If I were told that, I wouldn’t believe

After having studied the teachers’ blogs on January 8, on the morning of January 9 I was already in the Western School-garden to find out how the planned projects were being carried out. Even if I were told in detail I wouldn’t believe and feel everything which I witnessed on that day.

If I were told that a fifth grader reads the information about animals in the encyclopedia and then paraphrases and translates that text into a simpler Russian text, I wouldn’t believe. But I saw Edward Sargsyan and Haik Ghazaryan doing that. I also saw Luiza Yeghiazaryan and Anahit Tovmasyan translating the text of a Russian musical cartoon into Armenian.

The group of Armine Abrahamyan’s readers had gathered in the Media Platform Hall. When I went in, it was an unusual scene for me. The teacher was silently watching the Hayk Nahapetyan, a learner, teaching his friends a new computer program. The program is called Playbuzz, which, I think, will also be useful to the teachers, as a lot of educational tasks and tests are created with that program. Suddenly Armine’s voice is heard:"Hayk, the learners who are sitting in front of you, are not aware of the program. Explain a little slower and in detail. How seriously they were following Hayk's explanations! Many teachers would like to have such an audience. 

Next doors was Zaruhi Voskanyan's technology laboratory, where the technology design team was working. They were making a colorful letter game for the first graders. In an hour they were to go to Ashkhen Tadevosyan’s first graders’ group taking with them the newly made Armenian letters. The first graders were supposed to form words and sentences with those letters by putting them side by side on the table. 

Sona Papazyan was faithful to their "Ethnic Traditional Games" project. They were baking Armenian national pie. 

I wanted to see how Greta Bakunts combined Math with the kitchen. One can live and never deal with mathematics, whereas, one can live and deal with mathematics every day.

Greta Bakunts was teaching the second way of living to her group. Early that morning they had taken the fruit salad recipe and gone to the shop with their Math teacher. How much does a kilogram of pears, bananas, apples and oranges cost? And how much will  200 grams of bananas, 250 grams of apples will cost and how much shall we have to pay?  These are real-life mathematical problems which we come across that are to be solved on the spot mentally without writing down anything.

 On January 23, and on the last days of the academic review camp, I start to follow the process of implementing the projects in the Western School and get acquainted with the already recorded results.

Today is the 23rd of January and now I wonder whether all the projects mentioned have been carried on successfully. I am trying to find the answers to some questions. Did Lilit Haykazuni and Elina Simonyan's translation teams manage to accomplish their translational projects? What are the results of Greta Bakunts's project "Mathematics in the kitchen"? Did the first graders use the colorful letters created by Zaruhi Voskanyan's technology group? Was Armine Abrahamyan able to create a laboratory-reading hall with her group of readers? Will it be possible to find out what traditional role-playing ritual games Sona Papazian's "Homeland-Researchers" team has played? To get the answers to my questions, I first visit the Western School to meet the teachers implementing the educational projects and then I start to study their blogs.

Here is the simplified version of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "Fingerprint"  which was made by Arev Suqiasyan, a fifth grader. Here are the translations made by Hayk Ghazaryan, Tigran Marjanyan and Luiza Eghiazaryan.

With the video film published on  Greta Bakunts’s educational blog, we discover how she has explained the idea of the fracture by making pizza and cutting it to pieces.

This video shows how Zaruhi Voskanyan's colourful letter game made by the technology group of learners is experimented in the group conducted by Parandzem Grigoryan.

   I have always felt that Biology text-books on Botany, Zoology and Genetics are unnecessarily complicated with texts full of scientific terms. These text-books do not let our children love nature, plants, and animals. Being able to love nature is the most important standard of teaching the school subject Nature Study on the primary level of education. Shoushan Alexanyan’s camping days are consistently devoted to the formation of these nature-loving standards.

Who can see and appreciate the things which are invisible and invaluable? ….  at least a little awakening of a national self-awareness in Sona Papazyan’s "patriot-explorers" with traditional Armenian peg-top rolling, cockfights, rope traps, wedding Gata cooking and lavash baking, various ritual dances.

   One of the achievements of the January educational review camp was the work done by  Armine Abrahamyan’s "Creative Readers" group. The created the Armenian language laboratory-reading hall in the Western School. I am sure that with this project Armine Abrahamyan managed to increase the love of the 4-5th graders towards the mother tongue and reading, but who can measure and appreciate it?

   The last day of the educational camp, January 26, will be remembered by all the students and educators of the Educomplex for a long time. That day will be especially memorable for our colleagues Khoren Hazarumyan and Lusine Abrahamyan, as it was the day of their real Armenian ritual wedding in the Marble Hall and on the Educational Farm. This wedding united all the students and teachers of the Educomplex within a common project. 

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