Western Mindset Nursed at Byron School of Tbilisi
20 October, 2011

Westernization of Georgia is as obvious today as it has never been before. There are certain rotten vestiges of course, persisting in the desire to go back where we came from a couple of decades ago, but I don’t think this could be possible in any way any more. West is no longer a dream, it is a reality – cherished, accepted, successfully played with and thoughtfully utilized reality. If this is all true, then the famous Byron School of

Tbilisi is clearly one of the most accomplished and active participants in the process. The fifteen years of gingerly and patiently achieved academic success is definitely not the end of the frontier line for the Byron School faculty or the student body, headed by Professor Inness Merabishvili. These courageously poised boys and girls, watchfully coached and shepherded by their caring tutors are taking the frontier even further into the West. And most importantly, they possess a clear vision of what they want to achieve.

The name of the School is associated with the activity of the Georgian Byron Society under the leadership of Inness. And not only that! Lord Byron’s radiant image is an encouraging link between the School and the Western-oriented future of Georgia. Byron’s name symbolizes the mission of the School, stated not just on the paper but in its entire academic activity.

Speaking about the mission of the Byron School of Tbilisi, the dominant thought that crystallizes first and the foremost in the informed observer’s mind is that it is tightly intertwined into the stated mission of this nation – Georgia’s future is laid on the tightrope hanging between Europe and Georgia. And it is here that the kids are learning how to walk that rope, firmly holding the balancing pole in their tiny hands. It is here that they are voraciously drawing at the depths of natural English language and the Western culture in general. Our modern time is persistently molding the optimal (Hopefully!) type of a person who could easily and comfortably fit into Georgia’s Western-oriented future – this all conducive to better quality of life and a happier living accordingly.

What the Byron School is inconspicuously claiming for is playing a creative role in the complicated process of replenishing and strengthening the meaningful contents of that new type of a person in the prospective Georgia. And what kind of a person is that? Educated, qualified, thinking, creative, internationally-minded, bottom-line oriented, cultivated and independently operating. How to achieve the presented optimum? Only by means of qualitative life-long education which is the adopted direction in didactic and educational blueprint at the Byron School of Tbilisi.

This school has already made the dreams come true, but it has a huge potential, faithfully laid at the altar of the Motherland’s better future. This is the school that moves forward and never stops in its endeavor to achieve more. Look at its students, listen to them and you will not need any further corroboration for this, I would say, modestly formulated statement.

The Byron School of Tbilisi is living and working within a very sensitive skin of relationships which feels every detail of the acceleration process – our kids are certainly vulnerable to the phenomenon. Specialization – history, philosophy, bios of famous personalities, poetry, linguistics and literature – is our forte. In-class discussions constitute a commonplace pastime here, and spoken everyday English is just a routine. Funny to say but parents are attracted to Byron School for an unassumingly simple thing like discipline – the stricter the better for permanently-excited moms and dads. Manners, style and sense of team-work are present here exactly as in any respectable school in the West. Ambiance means very much too. They even have a miniature theater in the School, deliberately named after Byron’s daughter Ada. Individualism is appreciated; development of a child’s interest is a real stock in trade; sense of responsibility is nursed adamantly; feeling right in the right place at the right time is one of the goals; carrot-and-stick policy effectively helps to simultaneously nurse both benevolence and rigidity between the faculty and the students. They all know very well where they belong and why. Let’s call it a no-nonsense academic situation, shared by everybody equally. They like reasoning about life and things in general. We truly need schools like the Byron of Tbilisi if we are headed for Europe, if we have America on our mind, if the process of westernization is irreversible in Georgia and if we are smart enough not to look back ever again.

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