Our Guests’ Impressions
At the Kutaisi State University
During a recent visit to Kutaisi I was fortunate enough to attend a series of stimulating and enjoyable events at Kutaisi State University. I found the experience particularly valuable and interesting as I was able to set alongside those experienced during previous visits in 1990 and 1991. particularly worthy of note is the present day motivation and determination of all the students we met to become fluent speakers of English and understand our cultures and customs.
At a reception held at the University by English Speaking Club, a rich variety of questions were asked with fluency and style by individual students. Probably the one which centred on my relationship with my own children and areas of potential conflict and difficulties. Both are now students themselves living away t university and developing a growing sense of independence: this doesn’t always make it easy when returning home (with their washing and debts!) they have to readjust family routines.
Individual students provided us an excellent programme of music and poetry impressing us with their talent and skill. Particularly pleasing was the presence of Sophiko Chkobadze, Natia Jikia, Tengo Chumburidze all of whom were part of a group of children who attended Caerleon Comprehesive School. I found it a veru moving experience to meet them again as independent and articulate young adults and remember the happy days we had shared together.
The Conference on British, American and Georgian Studies was an ambitious event at which University and Lice students presented a range of papers on aspect of life, cultue and literature of all three countries. The serious commitment of the students was much in evidence as each delivered their paper on a chosen topic. Extensive research plus excellent teaching from lectures in the English Department at the university meant that standards were high. Students need to be congratulates on their performances and on their courage in standing an audience containing English and American native speakers.
Professor Madonna Megrelishvili, who has spearheaded this and other initiatives within the Department and elsewhere in educational institutions informed us that she hoped to develop an element of debate in the conference for 2997. thid would enable students to discuss diverse aspects of a topic, present reasoned arguments and develop a range of interactive techniques.
I must applaud the endeavors and success of Professor Madonna Megrelishvili and her staff at the University and thank them all for their warmth and hospitality. We were nourished not only physically, but also intellectually.
Teaching and Learning English at Kutaisi Secondary and Primary School #3
Caroline McLAchlan, Catherine Philpott and I spent eight days visiting Kutaisi in April. During this time, we visited schools, observed class lessons, talked to headteachers, staff and other invited guests and attended school concerts.
At St. Nino’s Secondary School we had the opportunity to discuss Britain’s statutory duties for teaching the eleven subjects of the National Curriculum, new arrangements for head teachers in managing schools, recent assessment requirements for pupils at ages 7, 11, 14, 16 and 18 years of age and the range of techniques for organizing teaching in primary schools.
We also visited the schools museum where we greeted by two outstanding students who discussed the schools collection of photographs and moments. During the afternoon we were privileged to see students participate in a musical concert _ we were continually astounded by the pupils ability and standard in music.
The class lesson taken by the deputy head teqcher was challenging, and the pupils were interested and enthusiastic throughout the session.
Learning English is obviously a pleasure for these 12 and 13 year old students.
At primary School #3 we observed an English lesson for pupils aged seven and eight. This talented deputy head teacher used a range of teaching techniques and strategies to display the young pupils ability with English. They obviously knew a lot about the class topic on domestic animals and enjoyed the lesson. The second session we observed was an art lesson for six year old pupils. The teacher used discussion, music, visual imagery and poetry to stimulate the pupils creative instincts, and the pupils recorded their ideas and feelings confidently. They worked practically and imaginatively and the subsequent outcomes of drawings of stars and moon were varied and interesting.
We enjoyed the meetings with Kutaisi colleagues, the opportunity to discuss a range of mutually interesting educational issues and the splendid feasts. Many, many thanks to everyone who contributed to making this visit one of the most memorable trips of our lives.
Fine Art Licee
The visit to the Fine Art Licee was one that will be remembered for that is flourishing there. In conditions that are very harsh the Principal and his staff are working with great commitment with young students, who , in turn, are producing examples of work of high quality. The class involved in a drawing from observation project were developing skills and techniques in the use of pencil, paint colour wash. The results were excellent and equal to standards demanded by a British GCSEA level examination board,
Despite lack of resources the fashion department produced a collection of clothes modeled by students showing flair and imagination. The staff expressed their eagerness in developing this area and I very much hope t obtain some teaching materials and schemes of work for them.
Finally a treat lay in store when watched a performance given by the Drama and Music Departments. Mime, dance and song were used to depict the fable of the Elea and Ant. What energy and rhythm place and style were seen here in this clever interpretation.
The enthusiasm of these young people was very much in evidence. We were bowled over by their readiness to give up for us their Saturday to demonstrate their talent and skill. We sincerely thank the Principal, staff and students for their very warm and gnerous hospitlity.
A visit to the Georgia Folklore Palace gave us the unforgettable experience of a performance given by the young dancers and singers of MEDI. A truly thrilling spectacle. Who cannot be moved by the rhythmic beat of the drum heralding the entry of the male dancers. The verve and brilliance in the strength of movement cannot be faulted_ a superb and stunning performance. The thrown knives _ what skill! The girls full of grace and beauty gliding across the floor. All this evokes the spirit of Georgia. The dancers fierce love of their national heritage comes shining through I this traditional display of dance, mime and music.