Student Leader Blog: Running an English Camp

Check out this blog post written by Student Leader, James Hallworth, about running an English in Phayao Province in Thailand. We encourage volunteers to assist in running one camp as part of their project whether that is for students or for teachers, here James talks about running a camp for over 180 teachers!

Teaching Camp 2During your project, you might be asked to run or at least assist in the running of a Teaching Camp. These are very common in Thailand. Many teachers from an area meet for a day, or perhaps on two days to practice their English together. Unsurprisingly, if you’re around at a time that one is happening, the Teachers will be desperate to get you involved!

They can be loads of fun, it’s also nice to have a change from teaching students every day. From my experience, the camps can vary enormously in size, organisation and length. If you are asked to do one, then say yes! It is so rewarding to work with teachers as well as students.

If you can give a teacher some more confidence with using English, they will be less likely to use Thai when teaching English. If you give them some examples of interesting ways to learn English, then they will be more likely to make their lessons more engaging for the pupils. The impact of this will last for years after you have left – so it’s well worth doing!

A few of us recently helped out at a Camp that hosted 180 Teachers over a course of two days, so I’ll list a few of the things we did to give you an idea of what you could do!

The Plan

  • We introduced ourselves to every one with our microphones, and then we asked them all to get into teams of about 8 and give themselves a team name. They called themselves things like apple and blue, and they were all quite excited by this point!The 5 of us each said our name, and something about us, and then the following person would repeat that and then say their own name and something about themselves. Once we had given this as an example each group practiced between themselves for ten minutes.
  • Then we did a tongue twister with the whole group. We used red lorry yellow lorry, and Chester cheetah chews a chunk of cheddar cheese. This was really funny, and gave them a chance to practise using English sounds. Then we got each group to stand up and do it individually.
  • We did a speaking and listening test. Reading out words such as vine and wine, lice and rice, free and three, and then they had to try and tell the difference between them, before practising themselves.
  • We played categories, by reading out 40 words, some sports, foods, emotions, classroom objects. Each group had to try and put them in the correct section.
  • We did a song called Chester, which took 25 minutes to teach the words and actions, and that was great. You could do any song you choose and it will go down a treat.
  • We read out loads of daily communication with them repeating after us, so they could become more confident using it, and also so we could correct any mistakes they made.

So, you can see it’s quite easy and loads of fun. The Teachers are desperate to speak with native English speakers and to practise so they all get really involved with the work. Also, the more speaking you can get them doing the better!

 Other ideas we had were…

  • Spelling competition
  • Countdown – give teachers a group of letters and see which group can make the most letters in
  • Crossover game – for example swap chairs if you have glasses
  • Reading to each other

You can tailor most of this to any group size, ability or set up of the room. Good luck!

Teacher who won a prize at camp!

Teacher who won a prize at camp!


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