By British Council in Georgia
01 December 2020 13:54
Meet Stephen Shelley, British Council Teaching Manager in Georgia who talks about the partnership with Kutaisi International University.
Stephen Shelley has been managing teaching operations in Georgia for four years. While asking about his involvement in the partnership work and the organisational journey, Steve says: ‘We’re always looking out for new opportunities for partners at the British Council Georgia, and having followed closely the wonderful plans for Kutaisi International University, I jumped at the chance to be involved in this. Personally, I have wanted to expand our teaching outside of Tbilisi for some time, so this was a wonderful opportunity to get out there, not to mention explore more of Western Georgia!’
Steve proudly highlights the benefits of managing this partnership and learning opportunities from the British Council perspective. ‘Every new project brings lots of learning, but the biggest thing for us here was working with a STEM university. STEM is a huge priority for Georgia, but we hadn’t run anything of this scale before. Luckily, we could plug into our international network and get lots of support and advice from other Teaching Centres”.
This has been a challenging year for the Teaching Centre and Steve, so was the partnership. Steve says: “Any new project has a lot to contend with at the moment. We had uncertainty around the start date of the project, whether we were going to teach face-to-face and when our teachers would be moving to Kutaisi. But we worked closely with the University who dealt with the situation brilliantly.
As to the question on what are we doing there and how are we doing to get the best results, our teaching operations manager claims: ‘Our job at the University is, in short, to provide the English teaching to all of their students. We provide a full service, organising everything with our local team in Kutaisi. Our academic team makes sure everything is as focussed on STEM as possible, while not neglecting the main focus, which is boosting the students’ ability to communicate in English’.
Stephen Shelley openly discusses the difference partnership with Kutaisi University had on our operations and students: ‘Well, the most heartening thing has been the wonderful feedback we have received from the students. We have asked so much of them: they are studying online for many hours a day; we then ask them to study even more with us online in their evenings! But they are working really hard and they have told us that the English lessons are making a big difference to their level of confidence. Which is absolutely great to hear’!