Why should you adopt AVC in your Armenian class?

November 28, 2018

Many teachers and friends ask me this question during professional meetings. Teachers always express how challenging is to teach Armenian in the diaspora, where the use of language and maintaining it has gradually become an issue.

AVC, is the only professionally designed online program that teaches Armenian from 0 level to Advanced level. It is not easy to create and support such a program and keep it active for more than 10 years. Obviously, integrating technology in the teaching method makes the language accessible to all. Besides accessibility, it’s relevant and practical.

 

Flash cards, pictures, and drawings for scaffolding are replaced in this case with pictures and sounds with the click of a mouse. All information needed is always available and accessible online for the students to review or use. Conversation is practiced besides reading, writing, and comprehension according to the language learning standards. 

Simplified language is used in the beginner levels and then some complex and challenging constructions are added in the intermediate levels. The texts are authentic and taken from real life and literature. In the higher levels, Armenian literature is also addressed. The language structure is based on vocabulary, chunks of sentences,then conversational paragraphs. It is also based on exercising, repetition, and personal experience, the lessons are built according to themes and target to teach learners of age 9 and above. Proper pronunciation is instilled, by the recordings and the lessons are built on proper constructions that transmit culture within language. 

 

Translations are available with a mouse click. The focus is on useful communicative structures of the targeted language. The use of vocabulary is expanded in the phrases. Sentence structure and word order in the phrases are always targeted and taught by repetition in different exercises. All themes and topics are addressed to establish communicative competence. The theme and the skills are important, but the skills and the use of language or sentences are the main goal. 


Interactive peer conversations;can be established via skype and chatting through the virtual classes in case of international students where they can have a chance to choose what to ask or answer. Also, online help his available by teachers if needed.

Students are being challenged to come up with easy simple paragraphs eventually essays, and write about their own experiences. 

 

Grammar and spelling are addressed almost in every single lesson and are repeated and gradually upgraded with spiral sequencing throughout the levels.Grammatical options like the use of verb phrases are gradually added. Also, the lessons and the levels are continued by using spiral sequencing. It is a necessity, always to go back and reinforce previously learned knowledge spiral sequencing is the most effective method in reinforcing the learning process.

 

In the case of the Hybrid model. Teachers are free and have many choices to use the program as a resource and a tool of modeling, where the teaching can be student centered and not traditional. Students can search online and use the program to learn about different themes and concepts. Practicing the Alphabet in the beginner levels is made easier. The teacher can be the guide not the lecturer.The course can create a friendly environment in the class, with positive attitude, and confidence, especially when the students are not having difficulty understanding the language. So the lessons are based on social integration and cognitive knowledge. Teachers should use this opportunity to establish interactive and active aspects that are the key to instill the communicative competence. 

 

When students make mistakes, they are not afraid or shy of corrections, basically they correct their own mistakes and learn from them.

 

It is very important to cultivate willingness, communication, and maintain student dignity by respecting the variation and the multiple levels of learners and keeping them engaged. Here, the program allows the teachers to differentiate instruction and meet the needs of all students. The lessons are very interesting and useful, and all are possible to install in all types of Armenian schools and classes.

 

I’ve been teaching Armenian to Heritage learners and also as a second language for many years. I am thankful to AGBU AVC for its existence. It allowed me to be more professional, meet the needs of my students,  saved a huge amount of prep time, gave me the ability to modify or even to be more creative, most importantly, my students became stakeholders and became more engaged, involved and proud of what they learned. 

Author(s)
Sevan Derbedrossian
Sevan Derbedrossian is a teacher of Armenian at AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, USA.