How to make your students learn English during holidays?
Summer is inevitably approaching. If you are an experienced teacher, you know how it works. Books will be thrown in the corner starting from the moment, the very fatidic day in Mid June sometime, you will give the final marks to your pupils. And when you see again in September, you will have to revise most of the material done in the spring. What can you do in order to encourage your students to learn the language during holidays? Whatever impossible it sounds, it is feasible. The only thing you have to do is to encourage your students to take part in a summer language course. Not only will they learn English, but also have a lot of fun. Guaranteed!
If you manage to encourage your students to go on the summer language course, half of the success is yours! The second half is to make them go on the good, meaning efficient, course. In most cases it is equal with a higher cost of the course, but it is crucial to explain that it is worth spending more money on something which will bring much better results. What makes a course efficient?
Nowadays there are a lot of offers of the summer courses in the linguistic market. But not everything which is available merits the name of the real course. The pure form is to go to Great Britain, Ireland or other English-speaking country. An English course organized in Poland the language and its effects will certainly be less visible.
It is important to find a university or a language school which has experience and renown in organizing such courses. One can search the offer alone or make use of some agencies which mediate between the two sides: the client and the course organizer. The second solution is much easier but it is to be remembered that the service of the mediation is not without charge.
The next matter is to find a nice place to go. The variety of the choice in this point is overwhelming: Brighton, Hastings, Cambridge, Oxford, London, Dublin just to name a few cities. All of these places have a lot to offer – each one something else.
It is possible to make some savings on the means of transport. The journey by plane is still more expensive than by coach, but instead of several hours spent in the bus the flight takes 2-3 hours.
The accommodation can also be different. The most popular way is to live with a hosting family, but not less interesting is living in a college or students house – in the vacant rooms normally occupied by undergraduates. It gives the taste of the academic life. The stay at the hosting family is, in turn, closer to the normal home life and it provides the chance to discover what the British or Irish people are really like. The price for these two kinds of accommodation is comparable and both of them usually include half board.
Some other details which are worth checking is the total amount of the participants (especially the international aspect is of great meaning), the cost of the intern city transport, library and internet access, the distance from the presumed accommodation to the university, etc.
The most important thing, however, which makes the quality of the course is its programme. It is not only about the number of hours of didactical classes per day. Far more important is that the student finds the courses which suit his own needs. It is good when the programme involves both grammar, conversation and special subjects, like art history, literature and science. A good summer course should be in fact a powerful mixture of small class teaching, plenary lectures and, which is of great importance, practical and tourist activities. One should be aware of the fact that the extracurricular programme plays a crucial role in the integration of the participants of the course. And an integrated group means a great chance to develop communication skills. The well organized social life has an enormous impact on the process of effective learning of a foreign language. It is enough to realize that such a course is a melting pot of a huge variety of people of all ages, cultures and nationalities. Additional attractions for the course participants should include concerts, receptions, parties, film projections and other cultural events. There should also be available a great variety of sport-based activities. These not only give the ideal chance to rest after the tiring didactical classes but also make people become closer. The new acquaintances can last therefore far longer than the course time. Having shared an unforgettable summer full of new experiences, fun and learning, the participants tend to keep in touch even when they are back home. The penfriend, as we used to call them once, have been successfully replaced by the mail-friends. Last but not least it is essential to make sure that a programme of optional weekend excursions is arranged. The more touristic sites are in the surrounding, the better for the sake of English acquisition. The role of tourism tend to be underestimated, but it is true to say that it vastly contributes to the process of foreign language learning. Trips procure also the cultural knowledge about the visited country.
In the end comes the less pleasant moment of preparing the expenditure. All fees should be added together in order to estimate the whole cost of this unforgettable holidays. Hence, the price of the total curse consists of the accommodation fee, registration fee, tuition fee (two different things), fare (from Poland) and some pocket money (for trips and extracurricular activities). Booking terms, insurance and methods of payment are to be checked very precisely.
What advantages can you expect from the stay of your students on the summer language course? You won’t recognize your pupils any more! In September, instead of a group of timid and unselfconfident youngsters you will probably meet people who would keep talking forever. Their language correctness will very likely leave a lot to be desired, but your further cooperation with the group should be much easier. At least until the students run low at the linguistic energy they accumulated during the summer language course!
Julia Magdalena Różewska