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Recent experience in Georgia (Tbilisi)?
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naughtybynature



Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Posts: 15
Location: Georgia

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

golsa wrote:
Here are some words about the TLG program written by someone who is married to a Georgian woman and has been with the program since group #2:

Quote:
You guys would be surprised at how unpopular TLG is among Georgians. Even in the liberal press, arguments are generally that:

1.TLG volunteers are unqualified nobodies who come to Georgia to get wasted and *beep* around for three months on the government dime

2. We don't respect Georgia's traditions, we mess up their houses, corrupt their children, and generally behave like foreign devils

3. There are far more efficient ways to improve English education in Georgia. Sending a Georgian teacher to the UK for a year to master English might cost as much as five or ten TLGVs for that one year, but that teacher will teach English in Georgia for another 30+ years. In the long run it's more effective to invest directly in Georgians (of verified backgrounds) than in transients (of unknown provenance).


He further comments that Georgians will never say any of this to our faces because not offending us is more important than being honest.


Again Georgians are not one universal entity. There are some who will carry these opinions and there will be those that don't.

Also it is worth noting that if those opinions are carried then they are earned. There are many teachers who are not interested in teaching,do get hammered every day and don't respect Georgian traditions etc

Some TLG'ers have said awful things about Georgians in my presence, but I'm not going to label every TLG'er a bigot now am I?

As for the point about investing in their own, it is a valid point. Money would be better spent training existing teachers rather than importing a lot of unqualified teachers as they do currently.
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mzuri wrote:
I don't know how your gossip about Neal pertains to this thread's topic, which is the TLG/Georgian experience.

I think it's an inappropriate and unfair post to make.


It's not gossip at all; it's all on the blog, which you linked to. It's all right there, and readers are free to read the blog - in his own twisted words - and see that he was fired from two different TLG special projects. You linked to his blog, so don't say that it's unfair for me to mention the fact that he was fired from two different TLG special projects to counter your claim that he is generally well received in Georgia.


Last edited by golsa on Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumbo11 wrote:
While I think the program is ineffective, I made a significant difference in the lives of the students. After class I would regularly play games, sports, and cards with the students.


I agree that, by and large, the program is ineffective. Did the Georgian government bring you over to co-teach English or play games, sports, and cards with students? Whose fault is that?

Sumbo11 wrote:
I never received any harassment for being a male, foreigner, American, or someone who wears shorts (all of the young men wore shorts in the summer, too). If anything, because of those things Georgians were much more interested and open in speaking with me.


As I said in the post, you will hear such comments once you've been in Georgia long enough to understand the language. You were in Georgia for only 4 months. Do you think this is long enough to really understand what people were saying about you? In my experience, people will call your host family simply to tell them that you were wearing shorts in a town near their village. Forget wearing the shorts in Tbilisi; wearing shorts in a medium sized city is enough to prompt people to start up the gossip mill and call your host family to retaliate against you for breaking a social norm -- which you should not be expected to adhere to -- but this is what Georgians do.

Yes, they were interested in speaking to you because they wanted to know exactly what kind of a deviant male wears shorts in public. Do Georgian males wear shorts to the beach? Sure. They also wore them to other holiday destinations, but they never wear them around town, which is exactly my point.
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

naughtybynature wrote:
As for the point about investing in their own, it is a valid point. Money would be better spent training existing teachers rather than importing a lot of unqualified teachers as they do currently.


I absolutely agree with this outside of one point: sending Georgian English teachers to native English speaking countries would have the same net result as firing them. Why? Well, after 1+ years of living in an English speaking country, they would have English language skills that would give them the ability to acquire almost any job better than being an English teacher in Georgia.

More to the point, I really think that the Ministry of Education and Science would do well by following the police system reform; fire all of the current teachers and train new teachers -- from scratch -- in the communicative method. No, I don't agree with the politicized nature of the police in Georgia, but I really think a solution of this magnitude is necessary to accomplish a full education system reform. I personally am not content in dealing with an education system that continues to allow teachers to hit or yell at children with impunity, nor am I content to work in an education system that relies on 400+ year old teaching techniques.
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GF



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
Posts: 190
Location: Tallinn

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

golsa - You keep going on about people talking behind your back for walking around in shorts. Didn't anyone tell you that Georgia just might not be like it is back home? Do you think a female teacher can walk around in Saudi Arabia in a mini-skirt? YOU have to adapt to the place you move to. The locals don't have to adapt to you. Try walking around in shorts in Russia and see what you get: Forget about gossip; the cops will doc check you left and right because you will stand out completely against the local fabric and your wallet will get much lighter. Sorry if I sound too critical but live and learn or go back home. It will be easier that way.
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Sumbo11



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I agree that, by and large, the program is ineffective. Did the Georgian government bring you over to co-teach English or play games, sports, and cards with students? Whose fault is that?


In my opinion, effective teaching and the depth of impact by a TLG volunteer is largely up to the initiative of that volunteer. If you want to sit in your house on your Magti chip, go to Batumi every weekend, and complain to your other volunteers you met at the Bazaleti, then you will have a terrible time in Georgia.

But if you change your attitude, take initiative, and try to make a difference in the lives of students who receive terrible education, then you will do some good. I played games and sports with students because I wanted to develop relationships and increase their usage of English outside of the classroom. They were also my neighbors, so of course I would spend time with them.

Quote:
As I said in the post, you will hear such comments once you've been in Georgia long enough to understand the language. You were in Georgia for only 4 months.


I was in Georgia for 8 months. I was 100% immersed. The closest native speaker was 45 minutes away from me. By the time I left I could understand what most people would say. My listening comprehension was significantly better than my speaking skills.

Quote:
Yes, they were interested in speaking to you because they wanted to know exactly what kind of a deviant male wears shorts in public. Do Georgian males wear shorts to the beach? Sure. They also wore them to other holiday destinations, but they never wear them around town, which is exactly my point.


I think this must be a city or town thing. In the villages, it was common for the younger men to wear shorts when they would walk around. I wore shorts, tank tops, and sandals sometimes. I would even go shirtless walking home on a hot day. There was NEVER a negative comment about it. My hostmom used to be the regional Christian Democrat representative for the Khulo region, so everyone knows her and is very open to talking to her. While there was plenty of gossip about me, there was no gossip about my attire.


Golsa, why are you in Georgia if you dislike it so much?
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