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Georgian Teacher takes the runner-up spot in ESU International Best Teacher Award

By Mariam Chanishvili
Thursday, February 14
The English Speaking Union is an international organization which functions in 54 countries. The Patron of ESU is-Queen Elizabeth II, the President is Princess Anne.

The main goal of the ESU is promoting friendship and understanding through the English language.

ESU is 100 years old. In its centenary year, the ESU announced a new award “The Best Teacher” International Teacher Award (Oracy in Education).

The winners were announced in February. They are:

Robbie McDonald, Scotland, UK

Maia Tkemaladze, Sachkhere, Georgia

Maia Tkemaladze, an English teacher from Sachkhere Public School, Georgia, took the second spot in the International Oracy Teacher Award 2018. She will receive financial grants which will enable her to further the impact and reach of her work.

She has been teaching for about 27 years in Sachkhere Public School N2. Last year, she was featured in top 10 for the National Teacher Prize, which is carried in Georgia and represents a part of the global campaign “The Global Teacher Prize“, aiming at the promotion of teacher’s profession. Maia received a grant from the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia and decided to found an after-school club called “Public Speaking and Creative Writing”. She is working with the students from 7th to 9th grade.

“I try to do everything to fit the studying process in accordance with the students’ needs so that there we forget about old-fashioned methods. I think that it is important to give my students more creativity. Club activities help me to achieve this, as well as debates. This year, I started a Public Speaking Club. I connected the club activities with creative writing,” Maia Tkemaladze said.

She also noted that she actively uses and teaches impromptu speaking, which is a speech and debate individual event that involves a five-to-eight-minute speech with a short preparation time of one to seven minutes.

“I believe that school is much more than just providing diplomas to students. It is our teachers’ responsibility to equip our students with the skills that serve them well in their personal or professional development. Public speaking and argumentation are thus the skills I stress in the teaching process, starting from preparing their own arguments to communicating them effectively with their classmates using the crucial elements of public speaking – body language: postures, gestures and eye contact,” reads Maia’s personal statement letter.

Maia was recommended by Nona Popiashvili from National Center for Teacher Professional Development to Marina Tsitsishvili who is the founder and President of the Georgian Branch of the English Speaking Union. ESU-Georgia is very lucky that Georgia’s representative won the very first competition for “The Best Teacher”

Maia had to write an essay – her personal statement, how she develops various methods and clubs for high school students. She also had to present a recommendation letter for the International Oracy Teacher Award.

“Teaching in a rural village, Maia noticed how disadvantaged her students were, in comparison with those living in the bigger cities, due to the lack of opportunity for communication with native English speakers. Through introducing debating into her classroom, Maia’s students not only developed their public speaking and critical thinking skills, but they were also given more opportunity to travel to debate camps and competitions,” reads the statement by

It was also mentioned by the English Speaking Union that the judging panel was overwhelmed by the response to this new award and delighted by the passion, knowledge and dedication shown through the applications.

The International Best Teacher Award, launched during the ESU’s centenary year, aims to recognize educational excellence especially in the field of oracy across the diverse ESU global network. Through this award, the ESU seeks to celebrate, encourage and develop the work of international teachers who are helping to generate social impact through the advancement of English oracy skills in their students.

ESU-Georgia reviewed several applications and recommended Maia Tkemaladze to ESU Headquarters in London.

ESU-Georgia was founded by Marina Tsitsishvili in 1998. ESU-Georgia has been involved in many educational and cultural programmes. One of the most important programmes is the Public Speaking Competition. ESU-Georgia has been organizing it since its inception in 1998. The winners are sent to London to participate in the finals. In 1994 she set up ICCBR ( International Centre for Cultural and Business Relations) in London. The main goal of her activities is making links between the UK and Georgia. in 2015 she founded the British-Georgian Cultural Centre” British Corner” in Tbilisi, Vake Park where they not only teach the English language but also introduce British culture and its traditions.

Marina Tsitsishvili is the first Georgian to receive the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, MBE (Member of the British Empire) for her contributions to UK-Georgian cultural and educational relations.