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English Camps

English Camps

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Published by: Zzdin on Oct 28, 2009
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English in Camp – Facilitator’s Guide
Report on English in CampIntroduction
At the request of the District Language Officer I was asked to organize training for primaryschool teachers on how to run an English Camp for their pupils. This has now beenconducted and this is the report about the training.The course was conducted in the form of a real mini-English Camp with teachers asparticipants and using 10 other teachers as facilitators. These facilitators were chosen onthe basis that they each had had previous experience at conducting English Camps.
It was felt that this type of instruction warranted an extended period of time, more than isnormally allocated by taking a morning or an afternoon before or after teaching. It wastherefore decided that the training would take place on a working Saturday morning, whenteachers would be in school, but could stay longer at the training as they would not have torush to teach afternoon classes.
DELC and facilitators met together two weeks prior to the event to discuss how the campwas to be conducted. During the discussion we came up with a number of different activitiesthat can be conducted on English Camps and a general list was:
Ice breakers
Treasure Hunts
Artistic Creation
Physical exercise
Relay races
Personal reflections
Group presentations –dramas etc.
Finding information
Problem solving activities
Sensory Games
Newspaper activitiesFrom the above list it was felt that the only events that would be presented during thetraining wereA.Ice breakersB.Treasure HuntsC.SingingD.Physical exerciseE.Relay racesF.Sensory GamesG.Newspaper activitiesThese items were decided on the basis that they could be presented relatively easily andquickly and thus allowing time for discussion and creativity on the part of the participants tothink how these activities could be adapted to their own teaching context. Activities such asCrafts, Group Presentations and Personal Reflections were relevant only to long term campsspread over two or three days.From this list it was decided that Ice Breakers, Physical Exercise and Relay Races couldbest be conducted with the participants all together, whilst the other activities were bestdone in small groups. A timetable was therefore produced as follows:
English in Camp – Facilitator’s Guide
Approximate TimeActivity0745 0830Arrival Registration and Breakfast0830 0900 Physical Activities0900 0930 Ice Breakers and Group Selection0930 1010 First Round of Group Activities1010 1045 Second Round of Group Activities1045 1115Snack Break1115 1150 Third Round of Group Activities1150 1230 Fourth Round of Group Activities1230 1310 Relay Games1310 1345 Conclusion Prize GivingFacilitators were then allocated one particular skill and instructed to come up with twoalternative activities that would be a good example of that skill. For the small group activitiesthere were two facilitators for each as there would be eight different groups visiting four separate stations, so two facilitators would be needed at each station.Facilitators were instructed to present their activities to the group and then organize a smallgroup discussion to consider ways that this particular activity could be changed, adapted or re-organised to suit their own particular teaching context. Each group was to be givenseveral forms to write down details of their ideas. At the end of each activity these formswere to be collected by the facilitator who would then allocate a mark to the group based ontheir participation and original ideas recorded on the forms.At the end of the camp all these marks were collected together and prizes would be given tothe members of the winning group.Facilitators then worked together to put their training and give a list of materials and requireditems to the DELC who then purchased them for the camp.In our district we have 88 primary schools distributed amongst five zones. Letters of invitation for two teachers from each school were sent to 44 of the schools so that we wouldhave 88 participants for the first session and then run a second session for the rest of theschools some weeks later. These sessions were held on 3
and 31
July.Prior to the training DELC prepared a short handbook which contained instructions about thetraining; points to consider when organizing an English Camp and some examples of activities they would be presented with.A school was then approached and asked to host the camp. The school was chosen on thebasis of having a wide open area where participants could gather as a large group andconduct games together. The school also had ‘shaded’ areas where stations could be setup for the group activities and in addition had a covered facility should rain prevent anyoutdoor activities.
The Training Days
On the training days all the teachers duly arrived and after eating a light breakfast weregathered together to be told the conduct of the camp. They were briefed as follows:
English in Camp – Facilitator’s Guide
a.Participants would be allocated into groups which would be decided during the ‘icebreaking’ part of the trainingb.Each group would be expected to contribute to the training by thinking of their own ideasand exercises at each of the stations.c.Groups would be assessed by the facilitators for their participation in each activity andtheir ideas at each station.d.On completion of the training teachers would be expected to go back to their schools andconduct their own English Camps which were to be done at least once prior to the end of this academic year.The program then went into full swing as per the timetable written above and all involvedwent home tired, but satisfied that a good day seemed to have been had by all.
Comments from the first session
:At the conclusion of each training session all the participants were asked to complete acomments form detailing their opinions about the training and inviting comments to improvethe training. On the whole all the participants were very positive about the training and nonewrote anything negative about the sessions. Approximately half the participants just tickedthe required boxes, whilst the other half also wrote comments in the space provided. Thesecomments ranged from:a.Ten people who wanted more time at each station to think of their own ideas, whilst tenothers wanted more ideas presented to them by the facilitators at each station – whichdo you choose!!!b.Twenty people commented that the training should be longer being at least a completeday and some suggested a nice hotel or holiday resort would be a better venue!!c.A small number felt that holding the camp outdoors was not so good for teachers whowould prefer doing things indoors, out of the sun and in relative comfort.
Changes in Second Camp
After the first camp a number of changes were made to improve the second session,detailed as follows:a.Facilitators were given a distinctive cap to show that they were facilitators and not justparticipants. In a real camp this would not be necessary as teachers would stand outagainst pupils, but in this training the facilitators were encouraged to get amongst theparticipants (in the physical exercises, ice breaking and relay races) to encourage, help,hint and ‘cajole’ the participants to use English and follow the instructions correctly.b.In the first session the relay races were conducted at the end, but after a hard morning’straining the participants were somewhat tired and not so enthusiastic about further physical activities. In the second camp this was moved to mid morning and wasreceived and entered into much more enthusiastically.c.The comment about holding the training in the sun was duly noted. (Personally, after thefirst session I too felt quite drained and exhausted and being in the sun I feel surelycontributed to this fatigue.) The second camp was held in a place with plenty of shadeand sufficient tables and chairs were made available at each station so that participantscould sit and work in relative comfort.

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