Nino Bunturi teaches English at the village school in Adzvi, in Georgia's Gori district.
She has worked there for the last 10 years. In 2013, knowing little about it, she enrolled in the EU’s international project eTwinning Plus. Seven years later, she says the decision was one of the most important in her career.
The project provides an opportunity to teachers from EU’s neighboring countries, including Georgia, to communicate with their peers in other countries through an online platform, share opinions, prepare projects and implement them together with students.
“Initially, my professional development was the main focus,” she explains. “I cannot tell you that at that time the emphasis was necessarily on my students, as I did not know what was I going to join. Later, when teaching by means of these projects became the priority and they actively entered the school, I said, why not? – If you can cross the borders of one school together with your students and integrate into the wider society…”
Nino says that the programme, which she initially joined out of curiosity, made her teaching and the school life of the students much more diverse and eventful: she works on new projects together with her colleagues, while her students communicate with their peers online from the classroom or even from their homes, talk to them and cooperate on the projects proposed by the teachers. This communication happens by using the TwinSpace, the safe online environment provided by eTwinning.
“The project gives me more confidence as a teacher, and students are joining the process with enthusiasm. Motivation is increasing, we have more possibilities for interaction… Technologies play a crucial role: contacts through Skype during lessons between students are common ... For example, I can agree with one of the Italian schools to decide on the optimal time for Skype contact, and children can talk to each other on any subject in real time. Communication is in English and children develop their language skills as well,” says Nino.
Nino Bunturi has not yet led her own project; however, she participated in a number of projects organised by teachers from other countries. In 2017, she was among several Georgian teachers invited by eTwinning Plus to Malta to attend the annual conference.
“In one of the projects, the 'Teenager Club', we published a joint journal of four countries. We established eight clubs: cinema club, music club, fashion club, etc., according to the teenagers’ interests. Children from different countries were united by their interests. Thanks to this project I won a competition that selected participants for the conference in Malta.”
Nino continues to participate in eTwinning Plus and has now designed her own project on technological advancement in education.
“(The programme) helped my professional development substantially. It increased my self-confidence as a teacher. And I have acquired lots of technological skills. Unquestionably, acknowledgement from the school administration and a prize from the Teacher’s House is an additional motivation. Joining eTwinning Plus was one of the best decisions in my professional life – the process where my efforts were recognised.”
Author: Mikheil Gvadzabia
Article published in Georgian by Netgazeti.ge.