New Project: Achrdili (the Ghost)

Have you heard the news? On Friday 9th, AAT started a new project called “Achrdili” each session of which will last for about an hour. The format of the project is similar to that of TV talk shows with 10 main participants that lead the discussion. Anyone can be among these 10 people. All you have to do is visit the office and offer your candidacy. The first topic of the discussion was “Usage of insulting words among friends.” There is a special group on Facebook, where you can share your ideas and contribute to the development of the project. For more details we interviewed our  teacher of Georgian literature Nino Gambashidze:

Q: Who was the author of the idea?

While learning Ilia Chavchavadze’s biography and editorial essays, Juniors long discussed the essence of citizenship and personal responsibility of a citizen. Every discussion had the same conclusion – every person, who has an ambition of being a leader, has to somehow affect his/her micro society.The first literary text of Ilia Chavchavadze that we learn in class is “the Ghost – Achrdili” (1859). The idea for the title of the poem came from the Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, in which a Ghost appears to Hamlet and makes him face a moral

dilemma: whether he should take a revenge on his uncle who murdered the King or not. Ilia was 22 years old when he wrote “Achrdili”. He had just returned from the University of St. Petersburg and was full of hope and ambition to change the world around him. In a way, the poem is Ilia’s life-long program, as it defines his dreams and goals.
Similarly, our students are getting education, have lots of goals and dreams and it is very important which way they will choose to fulfill them. So, to answer your question, the authors of the new project are GZAAT students together with my 11-year experience of teaching at this wonderful school, where moral and personal development is much more highly valued than superficial knowledge of facts without understanding their deep meaning.

Q: What will be the format of the project?

I have been thinking about arranging a school-wide discussion about the various important issues since October. The topics I thought was interesting to discuss were: “should occultism be taught at the Saturday school” (after Giorgi Mkheidze’s remark about offering such subject at the Saturday School), or “How the teachers should grade the students”. But one day Sandro Gagua wrote an

essay about the tendency of using offensive words towards the close friends, who do not mind to be insulted, even more, they seem to be enjoying it. The essay was written in a very emotional manner. I was influenced by Sandro’s honesty and courage of expressing his position. I felt that this idea, as many other interesting ones, should not have stayed only in the classroom. So I thought about a format of TV Talk-Show, in which a group of experts sit in the middle of the circle and discuss a topic. The audience listens to them and in the second part of the show they are given the opportunity to ask questions and express their opinions.

This format has several difficulties in a school setting:
1) The audience will not be preliminary prepared for the discussion.
2) There never are more then 20-30 people in TV studio, whereas the idea itself is that we should try to involve as much students of the AAT as possible;
3) On one hand, it will be hard to control 200 students and majority of faculty. But on the other hand, it will not always be easy to get this much people interested in a particular topic.

After thinking about the issue I came up to the idea to create a group on Facebook and invite all former and existing students of AAT from my friend list. I did not only add them, but also made all of them the administrators of the group. To be honest, in the beginning I did not quite realize what Facebook could change in the project, but as soon as I started adding people, their interest and readiness amazed me – obviously, all of them are still devoted to the AAT and to its main idea of forming personality. Many former students, who live in Georgia, are planning to attend the discussions. Others, who live and study abroad, ask to give them the opportunity to observe, or at least to read about the discussions: “who said what”. Lasha Antadze, for instance, changed the profile picture of the group that, in my opinion, represents the idea of the project in a best manner.

So, in a larger scale, I see the project “The Ghost – Achrdili” as a forum, which will be joined by every student and teacher of AAT. I think, this kind of a unity was, is and will always be a fundamental idea of our school.

Q:  Is it possible for those, who do not belong to AAT community, to get involved in the project?

Certainly, an ideal case would to talk and share experience with as much people as we can, but on the other hand, we should be careful. Most AAT members have already got used to organizing discussions. Freshmen still have difficulties in systematizing them; but these difficulties gradually decrease as students get into higher grades. All of us should remember that not everybody is ready for changes, for analysis and for appreciating other’s opinion. That’s why we have to be selective while choosing the members. But as all of you are administrators of the group, all of you share the responsibility with me. If something goes wrong, the idea will suffer and each of us will loose a great chance to talk to each other, to support each other and to help to improve. I simply can say: It will be bad for all of us.

Q: What is the main purpose of the project?

I think I have talked about the purpose a lot. I simply will repeat: the purpose is to know that we have each other.

Q: How will the 10 main participants be chosen?

During the whole week I have been talking to individuals, who expressed a wish to be a main participant. The first question I ask to them is: Is there something important you have to say that you wouldn’t be able to share without being one of the 10 main participants? In other words, the “participant” should become an expert, who has more to share then just a regular listener.

Actually this is the first time I do such project, so I hope I will not make any serious mistakes that will harm the idea of the project. I’m counting on your help.

Q: How will the new themes be chosen?

Everybody is welcome to share his/her ideas about the possible topics of discussion. However, I will be very selective about the theme. There are no definite criteria by which the topics will be chosen. I think the decision-making process should be spontaneous. When we will feel that THAT’S IT – the theme is worth to be chosen, we will arrange another session of The Ghost.

And finally I want to express a great gratitude to all of you who got interested in “The Ghost – Achrdili”. I think, together we will manage to create a very warm and intellectually challenging environment. GOOD LUCK TO ACHRDILI

By Mariam Charkviani

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