TLG Next Year

Posted on December 13, 2011 by

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Just a quick bit of news: I have asked and gotten official confirmation that TLG volunteers will continue teaching grades 1-6 for at least another school year. TLG wants to be clear with volunteers not to expect to be teaching older students unless you do so on an extracurricular basis.

As I said before, teaching younger kids will help to reduce the number of students who move onto higher grades with no knowledge of English whatsoever. The teaching environment with younger students is also often more positive and malleable than with teenagers, who are more rebellious and have developed bad habits.

In addition, having TLG volunteers stay with the younger students (with the Macmillan books) for two or more full school years will allow the Ministry to collect and analyse a great deal of data about teaching methods, English World books, and the current curriculum. This will allow the Ministry to establish a baseline against which to measure future changes or experiments.

The backstory to this problem is that the Georgian national curriculum used to be changed very often – as in, once a month or more – and this instability made it impossible to track the effects of changes. When the current Minister’s administration took over, a decision was made to create a new curriculum that would remain stable for a period of five years. This new National Curriculum – available here, in Georgian, for grades 1-6 – was created by the curriculum development center and instituted starting this year. By maintaining a single curriculum for an extended period of time, the Ministry will be able to determine the positives and negatives of the program using lots of data from all over the country. This will also allow schools to focus on the nuts and bolts of education rather than on worrying about keeping track of and implementing an endless series of changes.

Overall I think these are fairly good decisions that will help to raise education standards in Georgia – along with all the testing and monitoring that the Ministry is doing – and I’m glad TLG can play a small part in that. Based on our reports, teacher training courses have already started. Given that the Ministry is so responsive to input from TLG, I never feel like I’m wasting my time overall even when the day-to-day work of teaching becomes frustrating. Bringing both stability and responsiveness to the Georgian education system is a worthwhile endeavor, and that’s why we’ll be sticking with the lower levels next year.

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