What one man can invent , another can discover... (Sherlock Holmes)
Pupils wearing Christmas hats collect spent New Year's Day rockets in the sunshine on Jan 1st 2012...
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.
I still retain a tendresse for this website and I am altering it in the spirit of the (non-functional) original, which at least provided a sandbox for experiment for a season, and then was out of commission for a very extended period. As of July 2014 I have definitely worked out how I believe not just English, but all languages, might be inculcated, using 'non-invasive' methods. I have seen so much narrow, arid, rote memory based studying going on that I yearn to show people that there is another way, and that from it a true taste of English can indeed emerge.
Magic carpets flying to new intellectual places, bridges fording the turbulence of theory, a focus on the ways our minds actually seem to work when grasping concepts and words, and a sense of every lesson or presentation as a simple, timeless landscape, neither cluttered nor too complex, but not lacking in interest either. These are the ideals of English, amounting to a set of editable resources which can make life easier and more interesting - even while accepting that we must constantly evade the bric-a-brac of nullifying received ideas astern!