ARMAVIR, Armenia — A project in the form of a piloted course to teach English through environmental topics was conducted in two villages in the Armavir region, Karakert and Hatsik. The project aimed to raise youth awareness of key environmental issues.
Environmental challenges discussed in the course included climate change, ecosystem degradation, improper resource use, and the principle of reuse, reduce, and recycle. The project also encouraged children to participate in environmental civic action and develop English language abilities regarding environmental topics. Community service projects were also conducted, including a municipal clean-up project in Hatsik.
The project was developed by graduate students Dianna Torosyan and Anna Alaverdyan, from the American University of Armenia MA Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program. “Working in the villages was a new, exciting experience for me. Seeing students’ willingness to learn, I also was very motivated as a teacher,” says Torosyan who graduated from AUA TEFL program this year.
As a result of the project, Dianna Torosyan developed a book and teacher’s manual called “The Planet Earth”, written for schoolchildren aged from ten to fourteen. “The Planet Earth” is an environmental education book, in English, that can be used both at schools and English clubs. The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment is considering publishing this book for a wider use across communities in Armenia and beyond.
The project was one of the 10 winners of the Environmental Education Micro Project Competition. The winning projects represent the best from a pool of 130 applications from across the country. The competition was administered by the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. A selection team, comprising EEN members, reviewed and made the final decisions on the competition’s winners.
The competition is financially supported by the Norwegian Embassy Small Grant Program. The aim of the Norwegian grant is to develop environmental education capacities in Armenia, including the establishment and strengthening of the Environmental Education Network (EEN), a learning partnership between civil society, educational institutions, government, and international organizations.
The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA ACE), a research center at the American University of Armenia, promotes the protection and restoration of the natural environment through research, education, and community outreach. AUA ACE’s focus areas include sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity and conservation, greening the built environment, clean energy, and energy efficiency, as well as information technology and the environment.