Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Day 1- Paving the Road to Fame :)

by Natia ShevardenidzeICTE II/TOTSI Participant from Rustavi, Georgia

Everything that is done, tasted, tried, seen, encountered etc for the first time is always unforgettable!! The first day in World learning center, we were met by the most positive persons wondering how we still managed to smile after  the longest journey in our lives...we were settled in our dorms, had dinner, majority of us tried different food to decide what to eat for the next 2 weeks here and frankly speaking, I don't remember much from the first evening, just Mr. Niel's incredible sense of humor...After having a good sleep we re-gained our original faces and as Mr. Niel admitted (I'll mention him for plenty of times ..) we had our lipsticks straight, we were excited and really highly motivated to have our first training session in World Learning...

   Get to know activities were very nice, we were divided in two groups, our group headed by Mr. Andy went outside the building, we made a circle and each of us had to say his/her name and one adjective starting with the first letter of our names describing us,Zura immediately started searching an adjective started with "Z" in google and Mr. Andy provided him with one, meaning bing strange and wild :) we had wonderful examples: arrogant Andy, naughty Nino, nice Nino, mindful Marina, and cheerful KHATUNA, the most difficult one to be pronounced for Mr. Andy, finally he made association with fish tuna and then two of us repeated the names of all group members helping Mr. Andy to remember them and he managed!
     The next activity was introducing ourselves through drawings, Mr. Andy showed us his picture with his family, cup of coffee while traveling and nature, we guessed what did they mean and Marina guessed that Mr. Andy was joking when telling about being good at drawing in childhood :) we all drew our pictures and then shared mingling from pair to pair and learned various things about each other ..on the back of the paper we had to write describing our expectation/hope towards this course and fears one word per each, we folded our papers to just show the hopes and Zura was lucky to hang our hopes on the board feeling responsible to make them come true!..most hopes were related to success and motivation and the desire not to lose the motivation and Ms. Radmila gave us a wonderful response to this: we don't give here recipes, we just push you to do an individual intensive work to become good trainers as each journey to that ceiling is different and everybody has to make his/her own cocktail to be served in their context. They will provide us with a bag of tricks but the real case is to design something which will help teachers to improve. It's like learning how to ride a bike, you fall over zillions of time but Mr. Andy promised to provide us with helmets and we should keep practicing and experimenting-no pain no gain!..he said that from time to time they will "take our temperature" to identify just where we are and what support to give to proceed. we discussed the advantages and aim of using ice-breakers when starting a course, which included team building, creating a friendly atmosphere, engaging us, making us feel more comfortable and relaxed, and during the pair discussions we made such a noise that Mr. Andy had no other way just to show us a llama with fingers, indicating to become silent ASAP ! After that we had a real "mobile break" instead of coffee break with everybody's noses in their mobile phones :)
   Mr. Andy introduced the course outline, consisting of three stages:2 weeks of face-to-face intensive training course, covering lots of interesting issues, training reflections and observation in Georgia, work to be done is not easy but Mr. Andy encouraged us :don't be afraid of making juicy mistakes to focus on. Ms Radmila introduced doubting and believing game , very important to think about, it's people's natural reaction to new theory-it won't work in my context! and they simply switch off, but if we want to become professionals, we have to first try them out as a true believer, to weigh them from different perspectives, to go deeper and then doubt it, start asking questions "WHY", the most popular question in world learning, and keep being specific as "brevity is the sole of wheat"!!

    Then was a cheerful run in the rain to have a lunch with two umbrellas for 24 persons and Tiko in front of all murmuring: I can't get wet, I can't get wet...Lunch was not usual, we met American students discussing educational systems and language teaching in our countries to compare later on..To demonstrate our impatience we complained to Mr. Niel that Americans were not sent to our table and he promised to let us take them with us in Georgia with a nice bow as a present :) Then he struggled with the word "swrafad" to learn and make us be on time for the next session..
   We were shown the library, very impressive and attractive one and we were happy to hear that we'll have an access to its online resources for a couple of months, then we had short discussion of issued focused during the lunch and we nearly started a quarrel whether national curriculum is compulsory or not in Georgia, Ms. Radmila was actually shocked: they'r hurrying to replace me!
    Our trainers told us their stories how they became teacher trainers, both of them had no desire to be a teacher, but after starting teaching they fell in love with it, it was not a love from the first sight but it was a true love!! That's a crucial thing! Mr. Andy admitted that trainer should not break teachers' hearts while giving feedback, but help them having  recognized their needs. If we want to succeed we should watch others, pick up best things and if we are asked a question: "can you do this?" let's answer: "Yes,we can!!"
    We focused on teacher and trainer competences,similarities and differences and listed down in the following categories: Knowledge, Attitude, Skills, Awareness...Ms. Radmila said, that everything rests on our beliefs and principles, we have to articulate them, explain why do we recommend them as lots of teachers require someone to hold up a mirror and need real effective feedback! Ms. Radmila banned two words: positive and negative while giving feedback, instead we focus what went well and what could have been done differently..Finally we wrote what was important from that day and thought about one word that wrapped up the whole day, it was a nice closure. The first home task given in a creative way by Mr. Andy was to prepare 10 min warm up, to teach a new skill, when Ms. Radmila asked "are you tired?" almost everybody said "NO" but the fact seemed to be different judging by their faces hiding yawning ...Ms. Radmila told us a nice verse about patience: Patience is a virtue, catch it if you can, seldom seen in women, never seen in men! Zura was not happy with, and the first training day ended successfully with pleased trainees and impressed trainers! I hope so:)
   During dinner we laughed a lot abut Zura's interpretation of Nino's decision to stop a car and go to the nearest shop alone, fortunately he saved her and after dinner we had an amazing relax at student corner

 I was impressed how talented my colleagues are in singing and dancing, we enjoyed each others' company and I can say that it was a happy end of our first day in World Learning!!!

Best wishes,
Naive Natia :)


  1. Good job Natia...You wrote everything in details which will help all the teachers to remember our great experience in VT...

  2. Good job dear! very nice piece of writing!

  3. Great job Natia! Very detailed and interesting.

  4. :) So nice and well-thought out! Great Job Natka! :)