Browsing All Posts filed under »What to Teach?«

The Names of Georgia, Part 2

When I started taking Spanish in the seventh grade, the first thing the teacher did was assign all the students Spanish names etymologically equivalent to their real ones. Since my name is Nick, I was given the name Nico. It was a painless way for all of us to feel a little Spanish, and so […]

Teaching English World In English

February 18, 2013 by


I have to apologize if this seems obvious to you, the reader, because for me it took me a while to catch on. See, the Macmillan English World series is meant to be taught in English. I figured this out from using Rosetta Stone. When I came to Georgia, English World had not yet been […]

Introducing Guy Fawkes: Advice for Putting on a Performance

February 4, 2013 by


British TLG Volunteer Oliver Rogers spent last semester in Village Zumi, where he wrote and directed a school play that caught the attention of his village and local media. Oliver, or Olly as he prefers to be called, created a play dedicated to the English holiday, ‘Guy Fawkes’ or ‘Bonfire’ night, which is celebrated on […]

“Why, Pedro, why?!” – Host Family Lesson Ideas

December 3, 2012 by


Many a TLG volunteer spends a few evenings a week teaching their host siblings (and sometimes host parents!) English lessons. The lesson contents and styles vary depending on the interests and needs of the students – some lessons focus on homework help and reviewing school lessons, others expand into unknown nether regions of slang or […]

When Lesson Plans Go Awry…

June 2, 2012 by


Even the best laid lesson plans for class can instantly go awry. Any number of factors can impact a lesson plan: weather, illness, a supra suddenly materializes, or the electricity goes out and the estimated time of its return is a rather vague “sometime tomorrow.” These are just some of the examples of things that […]

In Just Three Easy Payments…!

May 12, 2012 by


One of the things that has been traditionally most lacking in a Georgian child’s scholastic life has been the opportunity to be creative.  Clearly this has been changing over the years and now, with the help of TLG Volunteers, schoolchildren are having more and greater opportunities to stretch their creative muscles inside and outside of […]

Why Accuracy Matters

April 22, 2012 by


With the utmost respect for the advocacy of teaching for fluency, I have to disagree with it on several points.  Fluency advocates would have you believe that I strike at them from some nebulous, undefined concept simply known as “accuracy”.   Oh so poorly defined and even less understood, but I believe that anyone that […]

Seven Reasons to Teach Fluency

April 21, 2012 by


We’ve touched on the issue of accuracy vs. fluency before (here and here). I’m here to tell you why we, as TLG volunteers, and English teachers in general, should ought to focus most of our efforts on teaching fluency. 1. Teaching fluency teaches confidence. If we correct every mistake in every utterance that our students […]

Teach accuracy. No, wait, teach for fluency!

April 18, 2012 by


My host mother and I share a very challenging 6th grade class. There are two distinct levels – a group of eight students are studying the second Macmillan book and a much louder group of about fifteen students are studying the third Macmillan book. Until a couple of weeks ago, I worked primarily with the […]

What to Teach: Pet Peeves

March 13, 2012 by


I would bet that if you are reading this, you’ve been taught somebody else’s pet peeves. Every English teacher has them. Some have what I think of as the “classics” – they’ll tell you not to end a sentence with a preposition, not to split an infinitive, and they will repeat, with a complete unawareness […]

Superlative Fail

January 5, 2012 by


Because I am a contrarian, and because I am embittered against all grammar rules after having discovered, as a linguist, that eighty per cent of them are wrong, I immediately and reflexively, upon hearing a grammar rule pronounced, begin to construct counterexamples to the stated rule to demonstrate that it is irretrievably misguiding and must […]


October 20, 2011 by


…It’s the most remarkable word I’ve ever seen. I’ve been teaching English World level 1 to the first grade – kids who are 5 or 6 years old, and who are only just now learning the Georgian alphabet. (Well, formally, anyway… I learned to read long before I started kindergarten.) As a preface to the […]

The Long and Short of ‘It’

October 10, 2011 by


There’s a story that people tell in the theatre world about something called a “beat.” A “beat” is a small unit of time – it can refer to a pause, or a bit of business, or a section of a scene – and the word gets tossed around in plays and screenplays and rehearsals all […]

Lesson Plan: Word Origins

August 25, 2011 by


I’ve been giving the same lesson on Word Origins to Buckswood Summer School classes since the first stream. I’ve been improving upon it and generally the kids love it. I try to cover the same topics, but it’s organic and so sometimes I spend more time on one point or another. I also feed off […]

What to Teach, Part I: American English vs. British English

May 22, 2011 by


Ever since I began teaching at public school, I’ve faced the question of what exactly I should be teaching Georgian students. After all, English is a vast and complicated subject imbued with numerous purposes and numerous ideologies depending on who is speaking the language and why. Without going into too much detail, I’m going to […]