Jack Warren – The United Kingdom
The English day camp is a one day event beginning in the morning and running into mid-afternoon. The purpose is to offer many students at one time to an intense environment to learn about a chosen topic of the teachers.
Like in the Thakshila English camp we taught the students about cultures belonging to different regions from all around the world. After the introduction we presented a slideshow with many pictures and interesting facts about different cultures organized in blocks of continents. After a break the children were taught a lesson on grammar to ensure there was some learning of English and then we sent them for their lunch. An hour passed and the children were divided into teams and challenged to complete 4 different tasks in their teams. The tasks were designed to assess the children in their comprehension, listening and speaking abilities. It was also designed as a very interactive part of the day and the climax of all the efforts employed. The team that performed the best was awarded a small prize at the end of the day.
The aim of the English camp is to entice students who attended to come back to Horizon in the week and enjoy the daily activities that we run.
The English day camp that was held exclusively for students at Siddhartha Maha Vidyalaya was on Wednesday 18th August 2010. We began at 9.00am expecting 30 students to be accompanied by the principal of the school. These children were also supposed to belong to grades 9 and 10 (13 – 15 year olds.)
What we were greeted by at 8.00am was a group of children numbering 38 – unaccompanied by the principal. After explaining that the camp will begin at 9.00am they reasoned to play cricket outside with the bat and ball we have at the centre. In this time we set up the main room with varying sizes of chairs and rugs at the very front for the smallest of the children. At the start of the day we found the multimedia projector to be very useful so that was situated in front of the room.
Before the teaching began we introduced ourselves, and as is customary in the organization that we all belong to: AIESEC, we had a dance to some music. This is an effective way of energizing the children and pushing them out of their comfort zone to make them feel more confident. Following this introduction we delivered the presentation about the world’s varying cultures.
Gangani, a member of the Horizon Lanka team, entertained the children very successfully with an energizer game outside during the short recess. This allowed us to prepare the room for the grammar lesson that was soon to follow.
During the lunch period it offered us time to feed ourselves and transform the main room to a much more open space. Helen and Achala would be using half the room each for their activities so we needed as much space as possible. Jack’s station was based just outside on the porch using the Montessori tables and chairs, whilst Jamelia made her challenge outside in the cricket pavilion structure. During this period too, we bought the small prizes: a packet of chocolate rice crispies from the main shop at the junction.
Helen’s challenge was a fact-finding game. One team member was given all of the facts written down, and the rest of the children had to ask him/her questions in English to find out the information. This resulted in the team deciphering what the continent was that the facts belonged to.
Achala had a big picture of the globe. She was also equipped with a selection of paper notes with items on them. The words on these paper noted correlated to the presentation we delivered at the start of the day. The challenge was to put as many of the pieces of paper at the correct locations on the map.
Jack held a quiz outside with many questions. As a team they were to provide the correct answers, one mark for each correct answer. They were not to progress to the next question until a correct answer had been given for the 1st.
Jamelia had a creative drawing game where as a group the children displayed in pictorial form different cultures from around the world.
The entire day was fun. Even though the principal of the school never appeared the children learned well and enjoyed themselves. Ever since we held the second English camp there has been a growing attendance of school children almost exclusively from Siddhartha.
I suggest holding more school camps with more schools from the Mahawilachchiya area. There have proved to be a real attendance booster, a lot of fun and above all, the children who come are attentive and excitable and learn effectively.