The school should help the child understand himself

Janne Hakobyan

Today there are challenges in the world, in our society and community, and the school is simply obliged to respond to these challenges, it has no right to stay aside. Problems in the school, in education have always existed everywhere, and today they show that everything that happens is a link in one common chain: poor-quality education gives rise to citizens unable to realize themselves in life, and this is already a disaster. Today we are simply obliged to thoroughly analyze the existing problems in education in order to erase them from our complicated reality.

First of all, we have the problem of developing learning skills. At the end of the last millennium, it became completely clear that instead of limited fragments - primary, basic,  secondary education, etc. - it is necessary to move on to learning throughout life, because the paradigm of education has changed: you have only learned one thing, and life at that time has completely changed, and your knowledge may no longer be relevant. In Europe, for example, a person changes about 4 professions and several jobs in a lifetime. Although I have worked in one place all my life, and in our educational complex I am not the only one. But we have a "Delight in Knowledge" educational program, and this delight is not only for students ...

Recently, there has been an increase in the direction of adult education. Many professions have ceased to be relevant or new, and modern ones have appeared that did not exist before, therefore, they were not trained. People start to lose their jobs. What can we do for these people? The question arises with the education of adults, learning new skills, acquiring mobility, the ability to reform oneself. Education brings prosperity at any age, doesn’t it?  Age cannot be an obstacle for acquiring new knowledge and skills to get a relevant job. In the college of our educational complex there is such an opportunity: this is a one-year education for adults. This is an opportunity to get a new profession or simply to get a second specialty with new skills which they will need in life. For example, mastering the basics of winemaking and juice production, technology of sewing, gardening business, cooking, baking, decoration and design, pottery.

At primary school, the child acquires all the necessary skills in reading, writing, speaking, and thinking. Then he goes to basic school. A change in his/her academic performance is observed here. His/her motivation for learning weakens. I'm talking about the traditional school. Actually, the problem lies in a lack of understanding of how to teach and how to learn at basic school. We continue to treat learners in Grades 6-8 like little children, not realizing that they have already left this category. At this age, they need to understand themselves, and the school should help them with this. Thank God, we perform this task in our Educational Complex. Our author educational program is aimed at the child, his personality, his development, his realization in the society, the development of his interests. We understand that in middle grades, education should be based and focused on the learners’ capabilities and interests.  We must be aware that at this age the main task of a person is to understand himself/herself. And if the school does not solve this problem, then the child runs out of school, runs to where he will be interested, where he/she will be reckoned with. Anywhere.

In the winter camp 2021, I decided to implement the project Territory of Opportunities. The aim of this project was to acquaint my sixth graders with the great possibilities of the EduComplex in which they study. The project was aimed at demonstrating the possibilities offered to each student in accordance with his/her interests and preferences. For this purpose the EduComplex has its numerous workshops and laboratories. Any child has capabilities that should be developed and realized. This project is collaborative with college students, and contains the component "learner who teaches". College students show the 6th grade students the college workshops (The School of Grapes and Wine, sewing workshop, pottery workshop, film and photography school, plant care laboratory). Together they are engaged in different activities, work hand in hand, try themselves in different fields. In the result of this, the child learns everything during interesting and productive activities.

After the three weeks of the Winter Camp I notice my learners beginning to ask themselves questions: “How can we understand our abilities and capabilities, desires and preferences, our strengths and weaknesses.” It turns out that it is easy if you organize the educational process correctly, if you create a school that will be a territory of opportunities, giving confidence in oneself, in one’s strength. This is a world where everyone learns to understand and accept their true needs and motives, interests. In this way their talents are revealed. And all this is done at school.

If you look through the eyes of a person not from our school staff, who, although quickly, looks through our school web site, he/she may not believe that so many clubs, workshops, laboratories coexist in a school of general education. It is a different world where everyone will find application for their strengths, capabilities and interests. If you go through these laboratories, you will see tenth graders telling alternative fairy tales to their junior friends. Or you can be present at the chess tournament the participants of which are students of grades 4, 6 and 8. In this room, the Middle School students are learning to bake Russian pies within the Ethnographic Festival. The other day I was present at the school concert devoted to the 100th anniversary of Arno Babajanyan, the great Armenian composer. The students played musical instruments with their music teachers. Suddenly I saw a sixth grade student come to the center with his violoncello. In contrast to his classroom behavior, where he can’t manifest his strong points, here he is full of self-confidence. How confidently his bow moves! He feels his importance at the concert. He is trying to show what he is really capable of.        

I can continue this list of activities, because Mkhitar Sebastatsi EduComplex is an interesting world, a world of opportunities, a world of creation. On can’t get bored here.  Moreover, it's not just for students, adults also live here their interesting lives. For example, they read and discuss literary works together in the Literature Club, sing in the teachers' choir, learn handicrafts or beekeeping, debate in the free speech club, or enjoy speaking different Armenian dialects.

The founder-mentor of the Mkhitar Sebastatsi EduComplex Ashot Bleyan writes in his diary (Entry 1897): “I am looking for people who love to live and make others live. I am looking for deeds and initiatives which are like seeds or tiny sprouts in the soil, and my hero is the man of creation with his initiative creative greatness.”

To educate, to raise a “man of creation” - you can't say better. Today it is the imperative of the times, the main task of education. The world is changing rapidly. The main goal that faces all of us today should not be statistics on the entrance examinations, but the development in school-children of such qualities as independence, courage, the ability to learn and perceive new things, the willingness to take risks, fail and correct mistakes. And also - to be afraid of nothing and no one, that is, to be free. This is the freedom that our children are used to: freedom of choice, freedom to express their point of view. At our school, any point of view any point of view can be expressed, and we are ready to discuss it. We are not out of time, and we fulfill its requirements. We try to keep our finger on the pulse. And when the sense of time and understanding of the value of human life is lost, education won’t have any future either.


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