Teach English in LuzhuAngliangmian Yuanzhongchang - Xuzhou Shi

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Learning a new language means acquiring a new skill. Like, for example, learning to play an instrument, it takes time and you get better the more you practice. It is fair to say that there are different types of learners. The list is long: from auditory over kinesthetic to visual learners. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that experiencing what is being taught leaves a lasting impression and, therefore, makes it more likely to be remembered. I spent six weeks teaching German to kids and adults at a language summer camp in the USA, which gave me a really good insight into dealing with various age groups, differing language levels, and many different personalities. For me, it was the ultimate challenge, because I was not only a teacher during the day, but as a counselor I was also responsible for the camp participants before and after class. The unique selling point of this camp is full immersion – upon arrival, participants have to hand in all their electronic devices, but also books and everything that is not in the target language. No languages other than the target language are allowed. At first, it might sound a bit over the top to take everything from them. However, it quickly shows why. Being surrounded by a new language all day makes the students pick up on it fare more easily and they make great progress. Like learning your L1 language, you pick up the new language almost naturally by listening and repeating the heard. Of course, it is not very authentic to ban all English from the daily life. German uses a lot of English, the English language is constantly present, e.g. in form of music. Removing all this from the kids helps them to acquire the new language, even if it does not show the most authentic picture of life in a German speaking country. The teaching method used at camp is the communicative language teaching. The goal is to get the students to use the target language – German – and get them speaking rather than watch for accuracy of the language use. The daily schedule consists of three 45 minutes teaching lessons and several activities during the day. During the lessons, students learn grammar according to their language level. The rest of the day, language is supposed to be picked up and learned through repetition. A positive side effect of learning a new language is that the understanding of one’s own langue is strengthened, too. I had many people comment on how they better understand their own grammar rules and language now that they properly learn a new one. At camp, the goal is to teach more than simply the use of another language. The students are supposed to become “global citizen”. Through many outdoor activities, they are taught to act locally while thinking globally. It is amazing to see how quickly information and skills can be absorbed through full immersion and an active learning environment. While I really enjoyed my teaching experience at camp, I must say that it cannot be compared to teaching in a classroom. As much as I liked it, I believe certain skills were neglected. In order to strengthen all skills, a certain degree of teaching e.g. writing is important, too. The students need to have an understanding for the structure of the language, especially when their goal is to use the language for work or studies. Nonetheless, having experienced how quickly new skills can be picked up, I believe it to be very important to use full immersion in a classroom and only teach in the target language.