Martin English began very exerimentally as a website where I might, I hoped, document evolving teaching ideas,and have a platform where my Bolnisi Public School No 3 students could communicate with me. The ideal and the reality could not have been more contradictory; and my three years at the school consisted generally in a constant struggle to obtain and retain pupils' attention, loyalty and friendship. There was scarcely time to prepare any lesson... In fact apart from summer school lessons, almost all lessons were planned on a 'survival' basis; and only when my three years came to an end (the TLG Project no longer seeming so keen on attempting to reform and change the Georgian education system) could I spent time analyzing the documents and photographs of my work at the school.
The most significant find was that pupils indeed associated English words with images, but these images were mnemonical ideas of their own. Two Azerbaijani students, Mehmet and Gusein seemed to prove this conclusively with their pictures - ideographs, really - of the sun and clouds, and other natural elements for which they had discovered the English word in question.
This research was written up
( www.scribd.com/MFMSmith) and I began a new series of lessons for English Centre, Tbilisi, in Autumn 2013 chiefly using films to enthrall and interest the students here - who were more suave and well-spoken, but no less (on occasion) intractable or ebullient. In the end I am grateful for such ebulliance and demandingness, for it has forced me to innovate.