Summer is a period when many English clubs, as well as general secondary schools, set up English summer camps. Some of them even invite foreigners for language practice. Generally, children come to the language camp to immerse in the foreign language environment and to level up their skills. Students are often motivated and challenged by communicating in English all day long. Speaking English only with children all day long sounds complicated and challenging, doesn’t it? However, it is not impossible. In this article, we’re going to share with you simple steps that will lead you to success.
Clear the way
If you didn’t have classes with the children before the English camp and their abilities differ, then students should be led to an only-English day point-by-point.
- Make a timetable of a day. Include activities that you’re going to do every day. Repeat the names with your students. You can also summarize them in one chart, do it, as in the example below.
Secondly, throughout the camp pre-teach the vocabulary and practice everyday phrases so that during “only English” day students feel comfortable using them (address to the timetable as well). Write all the phrases out on the blackboard or a poster. Assist, in case students don’t know some words.
Then, make a colourful poster with useful phrases and functional language together with children. Let it hang in front of the class near the board so that anyone can see it.
Practice giving definitions. In case students forget the word, they can always explain what it means. Teach students such phrases as “It is a thing that I use…”, “It is an action…”, “It is a place…”
- Finally, practice! Watch video-examples with functional language, role-play the dialogues, have fun.
- Integrate routines and practice them day by day.
“Only English” day
Let an only-English day be at the end of a camp so that children are used to using only the English language.
What rules can you apply for an only-English day?
- Students can use their phones to translate something they don’t know.
- They can also speak English outside the class and class activities: when they go to the canteen, toilet, or having an excursion with Russian speaking guide:)
- You can give any student 3 cards (or stickers) that they can use as currency for speaking in the L1 during the day. In case students didn’t use any of the cards, you can give them a small present, an award or diploma, or you can do it at the end of camp.
Remember, that an only-English day shouldn’t be daunting. Students should be encouraged to speak English. Explain that speaking L1 will disrupt students. They should know that they are not alone. Show them how to use the dictionary in case they forget the word. Allow them to ask how this or that phrase is in English. In other words, create a friendly and encouraging environment and discourage tries of speaking in L1.
Do you organize summer camps? Have you had an experience of speaking only L2 with children? Share in comments!