All pupils on the programme will receive 20 hours a week of structured English language tuition and practice and will also benefit from daily exposure to English in a range of situations and activities they would not normally be exposed to. In addition to structured lessons in the classroom, pupils will be continually speaking English both during lessons with the teachers and outside with our team of animators. Therefore the learning experience is not confined to the classroom, but continues throughout the day. This approach helps motivate students to speak English and learn whilst enjoying themselves at the same time. Our aim, as an interactive team of teachers and activity co-ordinators, is to develop and build on that motivation so that the pupils do achieve some amount of progress in the short time they are with us.
While a course book may be useful, and also meet with parental expectations, what we want to avoid is having a textbook series throughout the different levels and then slavishly following it with every group. Instead, we recognise that not all learners make progress at the same pace and so we will endeavour to make the programme as learner-centred as possible. Pupils will be tested at the start of the summer school so that they learn with pupils of a similar level of English. Lessons will be tailor-made by teachers using many different resources and from their extensive experience in teaching. Pupils can expect lessons to be taught using the communicative approach by interacting with other students and the teacher during the lesson and not only copying board-work and handouts. Using this approach, pupils want to learn and therefore retain more of the information taught to them. With such small groups we have an excellent chance of achieving this and initially we will spend some time exploring the learners’ levels of language, interest and motivation and establish their needs. The activity co-ordinators will also contribute to this analysis by providing us with on-going feedback on what language the children are using when they meet and where there are gaps in knowledge and barriers to communication.
Our overall goal is to achieve teacher and learner collaboration. By being approachable, positive and caring as teachers we will develop learner confidence and encourage them to be more open in exchanging information which they can see will help them in the learning process. The methodological approach will be eclectic and draw on a range of materials, classroom activities and technologies to stimulate the children and keep them wanting more. Within this framework our aims will be to
- recognise individual differences
- arouse curiosity about language
- stimulate reflection on language
- encourage collaboration rather than competition
- set learning goals which are challenging but achievable
- facilitate learning
- activate existing knowledge
- build confidence.
It is also important for the participants to understand and accept that they must take ownership of and final responsibility for their own learning. As teachers we can encourage, guide and help to package the language to be learnt into more easily manageable segments but the children also need to commit themselves to hard work during the programme. It is important that parents are aware of this and provide their children with the necessary encouragement and support before they leave home.