English Camp 2014
Kaijo English Camp for Junior 3 and Senior 1 students was held in Nagano last week.
As other teachers mentioned in the previous articles, the students taking part in this camp are required to speak English all the time. There were no native teachers on the bus, but we basically spoke in English on the way to Sugadaira, our destination.
After the students were divided into ten groups ( of seven or eight ),
they did some self-introductions through interaction with their teachers and by talking to the other members of their group.At first they seemed slightly bashful, but they gradually got accustomed to communicating in English.
Before taking the second lesson of the day, the students were shown a video about what they would do over the rest of this camp. They were told that they were going to work on “Mission to Mars,” in which they discuss what they would bring and who they would send to Mars if they were to go there. After getting some basic information on the planet, they started to discuss the things above with one another.
During this camp, each day is full of English activities for the students that are specially designed to enhance their English skills. Even after taking a bath, the students took an hour-long class relating to “Mission to Mars,” did some “Speaking Rally,” and had a quiz session in the gym.
On the second day, all the students enjoyed three sports that are not necessarily popular in Japan, i.e. cricket, netball, and touch rugby. Of course, all the directions were given in English. Since the students helped each other when the rules sounded difficult, all of them had a very good time. We enjoyed a barbecue, too. For the rest of the day, the students worked on the main task of this camp “Mission to Mars,” and gave their presentations on who should be sent to Mars at the end of the day. The representative students spoke in a very persuasive way and all the presentations left nothing to be desired. One of the native teachers mentioned that the students were extremely imaginative while they were having a discussion and many of their ideas were “just good.” Also, they were exceedingly cooperative throughout the camp – they were “in the same camp!”
The camp was fruitful in that not only did it successfully motivate the students to develop their English skills but also it made the teachers realize how enthusiastic the students are about using English.
Needless to say, it is impossible to improve your English skills in a short period of time. This English camp is not a goal, but just a starting point for the students. I hope and pray that the students who took part in this camp will continue to study foreign languages ( not only English! ) over years to come.
Last but not least, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the native teachers who participated in this camp. Your seamless support made it possible for all the students to enjoy every single moment of this camp. Thank you very much.
( Koichiro Yamaguchi )