This was the first TAPACY scheme run outside the UK. Since then, more schemes were run in 2011, including a TAPATE, followed by more schemes in 2012, 2013 and 2016. These included programs in Social Care centres, Children’s centres, and the SOS Children’s Village in Yerevan.
Here is the message from Varduhi Shahnazaryan, who has been the National Coordinator for so many years:
In the beginning of 2011 we ceremonially completed the TAPACY project which ran in parallel in two institutions: “Arevamanuk” Child and Family Care Fund (Gyumri, Armenia) and High School after Khachik Dashtents (Yerevan, Armenia).
As the national coordinator of the project I was truly excited and curious during the whole process and particularly on the Ceremony Event. That day the nine TAPACY students from Yerevan School and one from Gyumri (aged 13 -15) gathered together with several of their school educators and TAPACY teachers as well as the other parties involved in the project including Diana Yudina (the ambassador) and other AATA members planning to teach TA to kids. After the video greeting of the IDTA president (thank you modern technology) which was followed by a number of questions of the inquisitive minds, the students presented a fun play they had prepared illustrating the concept of the drama triangle based on a famous tail.
As a kind of a TA knowledge test we’d prepared a little pantomime game to see whether the young learners were clear with the basic concepts of TA as well as to have fun. Another way of seeing what they had taken from the course in terms of practical experience rather than theoretical knowledge, were the open class discussions and some short individual interviews based on the portfolios presented. It was pleasant to notice that the young learners were really enthusiastic and open to share with the experience and insights they had had.
It’s certainly essential to mention all the preparatory work done before and during the project. Before the start of the project I as the coordinator and the TA trainees interested in teaching had several meetings with an aim to develop the course and to adapt it to the environment here in Armenia. We enjoyed the mock lessons and found them really useful; it was surely a great fun to be in the role of students while one of us was teaching. Another great experience both for me and the TA teachers were the online supervisions with Julie Hay (IDTA president): thanks to those we could cope with difficulties and acquire a more organized approach.
Overall, we’re all very thrilled about the project and glad that the first TAPACY in Armenia was successfully accomplished.
The following video shows the first Award Ceremony in Armenia, showing examples of students work, including some great pictures to illustrate life positions, role plays and a mime game, and the award ceremony which even in 2011 used an online option to enable a TA Trainer/Supervisor in the UK to act as the Ambassador.
EUROTAPACY in Armenia – with an Ambassador from Italy
By Ulrika Widén
In 2012 Ulrika Widén, the TAPA Deputy Project Manager and National Coordinator for Italy, traveled to Armenia to be the Ambassador who gave the certificates to the students.
This is what she wrote:
Arriving in Yerevan, Armenia, the first thing you meet is a very colourful, new airport. The windows and interior decoration are coloured in red, orange and blue, like the Armenian flag. Walking around in the capital there is a lot of movement going on, old buildings are being torn down and new ones, very modern are rising.
The feeling I had was of a dynamic city, positive and innovating. Just like the atmosphere I felt meeting the TA representatives of Armenia, the teachers, psychologist, students and headmaster in the school of Yerevan where they during the last two years have run the EUROTAPACY project.
The reason I was in Armenia was to participate in ceremonies as “Ambassador”, representing the EUROTAPACY project, funded by EATA, and the body promoter, the IDTA (Institute of Developmental Transactional Analysis) in the UK.
The EUROTAPACY project is about Educational Transactional Analysis, how young people can learn TA techniques to use in their lives, helping them to better understand themselves and others thanks to concepts like Okayness, the functional Ego-state model, strokes and theory of transactions. Communication is also an important theme that is being treated: using TA to understand what is not working, and how to make it work in dysfunctional moments of a dialog, for instance discovering what Rackets and Games are about. Being a ‘EUROTAPACY Ambassador’ means participating at the ceremonies of awarding certificates, listening to what the children have learned about TA and talking with the teachers and educators about their experience, looking at the portfolios of the students containing creative work about six topics, called “Tools”, to be chosen among the TA theoretical concepts.
So what the Ambassador does with the local participants is giving feedback and strokes. Feedback on the work they’ve done, and strokes to the students who have participated, strokes to their teachers and educators that have learnt the concepts and been able to teach them to the students, and finally strokes to the TA organization that in that specific country has organized the classes.
But the Ambassador is there also to learn: how TA is “inculturated” in different environments, how we can improve the project and how the concepts can be seen from different point of views. People of various ages, countries and background have with this project a chance to meet, being creative, interact and learn from each other.
The groups in Armenia were situated in two different cities and settings. In the first one, in Yerevan, the psychologist of the ‘N114 High School after Khachic Dashkents’ had asked who of the students were willing to participate in the project, after the school hours. The enthusiasm was big among the students regarding the project, and they have even asked for the possibility to go deeper into the TA-concepts analyzing pieces of classical literature (like Tolstoy, or other famous authors), from a TA-point of view. This encouraged the teachers to go deeper into the concepts themselves, and it also created curiosity about TA among the other students in the school, who were not participating in the project.
The second group I met was organized in Arevamanuk, a child and family care foundation offering after-school activities in a town called Gyumri. The students were as in the previous group, about 14-15 years old: we spoke about the TA-concepts they’ve learnt and how they have been able to connect them to their lives. The educators spoke to me about how the project have been proceeding, how they have been feeling doing it, how to find solutions in difficult situations in the classroom and doubt about the concepts of TA (And the importance of doing supervision with Julie Hay in these situations!).
In Armenia, the EUROTAPACY-project has created a lot of interest about TA among psychologists, teachers and educators who have seen the students connecting the tools to their everyday life. Examples of this were a psychologist, who asked information about how she could develop a project of TA with children with disabilities, and another psychologist, working in a art-museum, wondered if it would be possible to develop a project including art and Transactional Analysis, so we spoke about how to make that possible.
It was very important for me to see how the teachers and educators have grasped the TA material, being able to teach the concepts in an easy and understandable way, without simplifying it.
One example of how a 15 years old Armenian student related TA to her personal life like, I liked a lot was:
“I’m OK, you’re not OK, is like if I have chocolate but I keep it all to myself and I don’t give anything to you. You’re Ok I’m not Ok = I see you have the chocolate but you don’t offer any to me. I’m not OK, You’re not OK, nobody gets chocolate. I’m OK you’re OK, we both get chocolate and enjoy it together.”
Seeing the positive effect the knowledge about TA concepts has brought to these students and the satisfaction showed by their teachers and educators was a true pleasure for me and I wish that many other young people in different countries will have the possibility to live an experience like the students in Armenia.
Varduhi Shahnazaryan can be contacted at: [email protected]
Ulrika Widén can be contacted at: [email protected]