Lifelong memories and learning for fluent English speakers
21st February 2019
Even children who are advanced at speaking English as a second language have the potential to improve. The improvements can be subtle but significant; it could be in the range of words used, accent, pronunciation or confidence.
So, if a child is at a C1 level or above, what’s the best way for them to make these subtle language improvements? In our opinion, it’s immersion and the opportunity to converse in a natural way with native English-speaking children and instructors. To an extent that’s how adults make real improvements too. You can learn to a certain level in a classroom however true fluency comes from talking to and interacting with native English speakers in everyday life situations.
Our Fluent English Speaker Programme is open to children who have a C1 level of English and above but also to children from English speaking countries such as the United States of America. Children on the programme spend each weekday taking part in activities with our Buddies (local British children who attend our day camp). This produces a natural environment within which they communicate with an emphasis on selecting and using appropriate language for each situation. It also allows them the opportunity to deal with unfamiliar but everyday life topics. Negotiating rules as part of a game, chatting with a local Buddy about popular culture or talking with them about what they have enjoyed that day across the dinner table all add to the experience they gain and the subtle improvements they can make whilst on our programme. Importantly, all this is done without the pressure of school life and without the pressure of any sort of assessment or exam.
Our local Buddies love getting to know children on the Fluent English Speaker Programme, finding out where they are from and what they are interested in. Likewise, the international children also take the chance to learn about the local Buddies, picking out the similarities and differences between where they live and finding common ground through their shared love of the activities they take part in together on camp. Our Specialist Choice Activities magnify this, allowing children to specialise in an activity of their choice. Take for example our Outdoor Adventure option; the bond that three children can make when stood together at the top of an 8-meter high pole, leaning out backwards, trusting that the others will hold them (plus the safety rope) is amazing (see picture).
As the world gets smaller through technology the need to travel in order for a child to learn and improve their English speaking abilities begins to diminish. However, the time that the children spend together on our camp builds lifelong memories that can only be made by physically sharing an experience together. It allows for lifelong learning achieved through spending full days with native English speakers, having fun making their way together through the activities, social times and meal times together.
Lifelong memories, lifelong learning, new friendships!
Written by: Mark Vingoe, MD