The Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation launched “Prizes for Teaching in Armenian Online” in April 2020. The aim of this initiative was to encourage diasporan teachers who use Armenian as a medium of instruction during the sudden shift to online teaching platforms caused by the forced lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus.
Teachers were asked to send samples of their materials, examples of their interactions with their students, and an explanation of how their lessons were implemented on the online platforms they were using.
The program was open for six weeks, and entries were evaluated biweekly by a committee of seven people within the Foundation. The following criteria were used in the selection process:
o Innovative use of online mechanisms and originality of idea
o Adaptation of teaching methodology and teaching approaches
o Student involvement/interactivity (the “fun factor”)
o Quality of execution and use of the Armenian language
o Potential of use by others
Just over 100 applications were received from 13 countries from teachers who worked in daily and weekly Armenian schools. The majority of the applicants were language teachers, but the prize was not restricted to them. Teachers of history, religion, math, science, art and even physical education also participated. The average age of applicants was 44.
In order to be as supportive as possible and in recognition of the excellent work many of the teachers are doing, the Foundation increased the number of prizes granted from 30 to 49. As such, 46-percent of applicants were successful, each receiving a USD 500 financial award.
“We congratulate all the winners! Regrettably, we could not support all the applicants,” said Razmik Panossian, the Director of the Armenian Communities Department, “we do, however, want to acknowledge and applaud the efforts of all the participants, as well as the ongoing efforts of Armenian teachers around the world during these difficult days of the coronavirus pandemic.”
For further information and to consult the list of the 49 awardees of the “Prizes for Teaching in Armenian Online” please visit: gulbenkian.pt/armenian-