Focus Group

Posted on December 1, 2011 by

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Those of us in Tbilisi will be participating in a new TLG pilot program where we meet and discuss issues regarding our experiences teaching. These focus groups will be used to locate areas for improvement to the TLG program.

As of now, the focus groups will only be in Tbilisi, due to the logistical difficulties of organizing them in the regions (the regions are getting their share of attention though). The program may be expanded to include the regions later on, depending on how things go in Tbilisi. The goal is to have a meeting every month, although I think at this point they’ll be every six weeks or so because there are so many volunteers to meet.

The way the meetings will work is that the TLG volunteers will meet with the Tbilisi regional representative, who will ask particular questions – this isn’t intended to be a free-for all complaint session. In a separate meeting, our coteachers will also meet with the TLG representative for their own focus group.

My focus group met at school #1 yesterday. The questions they asked were very similar to the questions we answer in the monthly reports – things like how lesson planning is going, how the course programs are working out, etc. Generally speaking we’re all facing the same challenges and it was nice to hear other volunteers talk about what their problems were and what solutions they’ve been trying. The meeting didn’t seem as much like a focus group as it did like a live-action monthly report, and the suggestions that we made were mostly things we’ve all been saying publicly and privately since the beginning – in other words, stuff about the need for greater communication and organization.

Our regional representative did take the time to answer some of our questions and explain the reasons for some of the problems we’ve had, so that was nice. One volunteer wanted to know if TLG would be disbanded after President Saakashvili’s term ended, which of course is a question that no one can answer (so no one did), but the other questions and concerns we had got substantial responses. Overall I’d say the meeting went well, and I’m very curious to see what my coteachers will say when I ask them how their meeting went.

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