tsukinodeynatsu wrote:I think to teach in an English Village you need the same mindset to teach in a summer camp.
Yes, you are there as a teacher. You are not actually supposed to be teaching.
Do as little material teaching as possible. What these camps and villages and whatnot are is a rare opportunity for the kids to let off some steam and have fun. Will they learn anything from the material? Very, very little. But they'll probably learn something more important about human interaction from their time with you, so while you're there be the very best example of a human that you can be. Make them have fun, care about them while they're in your room or in the corridors, do your best to let them have a good time because that's the whole point.
The saddest thing about them is that playtime and breaks need to be disguised as study opportunities before parents will let their kids chill out and be kids.
Last year, I helped the 5th graders at my son's school prepare for this English Camp. After the whole experience, I am really angered by the amount of the money that has gone into this thing, and the ridiculousness of the concept. We were an invited school, and for preparation, we got four sides of A4 paper with vocabulary and dialog. This included sentences like: "I want to take a train from Vancouver to New York. What time does it leave?" We also had to teach money amounts like "Thirty three dollars and fifty nine cents. Are you paying by credit card?" When you think about this question, consider that these kids going to the camp have had two hours a week of English since Third Grade. They have not been introduced to any English names of countries, nor have they been near American money. So, I had five weeks (=five hours while the teachers are in their weekly meeting) to prepare the kids which included teaching them the geography of the USA and Canada, which included five random US cities and Vancouver (so they could take a train), as well as memorizing six sets of dialog and vocabulary, much of which they had not yet covered in class. There is no extra time allotted for English teachers to cover any of this material. We asked for flashcards, pictures, any activity suggestions, cloze dialogs, anything that teachers teaching the English Village might have, but there was NOTHING. So, every school taking part had to make all their extra preparation material. We found a few grammar and spelling errors on the four sheets but were told it couldn't be changed because it had already gone to print. I know other teachers in other areas prepared stuff but nobody wanted it, and this just highlights the disorganisation of the whole thing.
I also have to disagree about the part about just having fun and not learning anything. This COULD be a really good learning opportunity. As it is, there are prizes at the English Village and the kids really care about the chance to get a prize, as well as actually doing something useful. The kids I taught did learn something, but not every school has a parent willing/able to come in and prepare all the materials and then teach it, and as it doesn't fit within the pre-set curriculum, English teachers struggle to cover the material so all kids can be confident enough to have a good time. However, I would argue the money SHOULD go to schools like ours that have no English materials at all provided, or to the families that can't afford a CD player to let their kids hear the CD that comes with the school textbook. Or let schools run exchange days if it's about having fun and socialising. Or maybe that few million could be put into developing a decent elementary school English curriculum. It's just a misuse of so much money.
Ok, that's my rant as a disgruntled parent over. I also want to plead to teachers in the program to consider the kids if you can, when planning the materials. That little extra bit of work you do, those extra things you offer to support preparation, help a lot. Of course if you are not allowed to provide those, it just confirms my view that is a good idea gone bad.