Wednesday, January 16, 2013

School Camps and ESL


School Camps have become, over time, an essential activity into the teaching and learning process of children, in ways that often are not addressed either in school or within the family.

Even, we can truly say that some of the aspects that we work out in the school camps can hardly be treated either at school or within the family.

We all know the importance of school camps:

Group. In a more relaxed atmosphere, away from the routines of the class, students openly express emotions, their skills, and their knowledge. Two or three days of living and sharing together improve the cohesion of the groups.

Individual. School camps break the daily routine and this means that children acquire different responsibilities, they learn to organize themselves and they adapt to new situations. As the activities are not scheduled and they are acquired in a different environment, learning is more intense.

Curriculum. School camps reinforce school course work, they show “in situ” many of the things children have learned in the classroom, and they bring out children's experiences and knowledge that otherwise would be impossible.

Territory. One of the main goals in school camps is to know the country and a different environment out of the familiar one, to make transcend the educational project beyond the walls of the school.

Language. The school camp encourages the introverted and shy students to talk and interact with colleagues. They are a superb resource for socialization and language production in a free stressed environment.

The two main aspects of the school camps are "work and leisure". And although the teachers set a complete plan with objectives, methodology and evaluation, we always leave some room for the preparation of activities that arise spontaneously and are responding to the interest or motivation of the students.

This is where I wanted to be!

We can practice the English language (as a second or foreign language) in a free and secure environment just by preparing different games to fill the leisure moments. Let’s prepare a bank of games, with different proposals to engage children into oral production and free speaking. In this way, we will do English, as well as we will reinforce verbal interactions among students.

I have outlined in the following paper you can download for free, a good number of possible school camp games. They are quite generic, not specific to ESL, but I’m sure with a touch of creativity you can make them into something useful.

Here I leave you another great link where to find more stuff about School Camps: ultimatecampresource.com/

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