Why different English Programmes?
Anyone who has learned a foreign language before will know that there is no one magic way of learning. What works for one student, may not work for another. For that reason, we at TECS are committed to the concept of running our English immersion camps as English programmes with each camp offering a different variety of English activities/classes/programmes to cater to the unique learner personality and needs of a wide range of differing students. We believe ourselves to be at the forefront of English language education for children and our four different English programmes are testaments to that fact. Having different English programmes also allows the students different prospects for progression in each programme, for example a student in Full Immersion English is more likely to advance a bit in all skills area, whereas a student in Pre Teens Total may advance less in grammar, reading and writing but more in speaking. We believe that with the right learning environment, one that inspires the use of the language, every child is capable of speaking English.
What should someone know about all our programmes?
- With the exception of Go Camp (please read Go Camp notes) all our staff on all camps are native English speakers, unlike many camps which employ English teachers but Spanish monitors. Therefore, with the small exception of some specialist activities (Sailing, Padel, etc…), ALL our monitor-led activities are in English which makes our camps true immersion camps. Children are not allowed to speak to our staff in Spanish and in all organized activities; their language is monitored to stop Spanish being spoken. In “chill out/relax” moments they are, however, permitted to speak Spanish between themselves (except in Total English), however, they are, of course, constantly encouraged to use English instead. With the exception of Welfare Coordinators and the Camp Nurse when they are talking about key welfare or health issues, our staff will never use Spanish to communicate with the campers in any of our camps.
- Total English goes a step further in the sense that campers are required to speak English between themselves and no Spanish is allowed at any moment, under any circumstances. This approach makes it a TRUE TOTAL ENGLISH environment.
- Go Camp is the only camp part run in English and Spanish and for this reason has different, but equally inspiring, objectives, which is to act as a secure and comfortable stepping stone for campers to in later years feel comfortable about moving on into the Full Immersion environment.
- TECS has incredible staff to camper ratios in all its camp, as we know that with English the number of native staff makes a difference.
What is difference between the English Programmes?
First of all, it should be made clear that all our English programmes offer progression in the English language. However one environment may suit the personality of a specific learner type more effectively and may promote more progress in certain skill areas than another English programme.
“Full Immersion English” (in Family Camp, Family Gredos and Anglo Land Salamanca)
is our original base form of learning and offers a complete overall learning experience, where advancement can be expected to be achieved in all learning areas (Grammar, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening). Obviously, more progress in Speaking and Listening is to be expected above all else. In this camp we use our ground-breaking “TECS Files”, original camp textbooks which have been especially designed by out TEFL department to offer 2 week programmes. These textbooks appropriately grade language that is introduced through exciting and useful camp themes and obviously taught to the campers in a fun and inspiring way. Also in “Full Immersion English,” students learn English through stimulating camp projects, like writing letters for the camp magazine and writing a postcard home to their parents. Teachers are also encouraged to run some projects classes out of the classroom to break up the three or four hours of class. Students in these camps will also learn relevant language to use in the evening entertainments so that their English involvement in these events is the maximum possible. We believe this programme offers an excellent overall learning experience and that the programme is suitable for all types and levels of learners. The class part is very similar to what a well-run academy would offer but with more emphasis on camp language provided through our OWN TECS Master Packs.
NOTE on Anglo Land Salamanca: Anglo Land Salamanca runs with a very slightly different “Full Immersion English PLUS” programme which is almost exactly the same as Full Immersion English in that classes are structure the same and it will use the same resources but will have the slight difference that there will be some times during the day that will run in Total English and these times will increase gradually every day. This therefore means that in Gredos campers will be pushed more than in our other Full Immersion English camps and that camp will be more intensive for them in terms of English usage and learning.
“Pre Teens Total English” (in Magic Village)
is a programme where we avoid emphasizing grammar learning, and instead focus on inspiring the learner to progress orally by building up their confidence and belief in their own language ability. Teachers are specially selected for their ability to make the learning environment extra enjoyable and motivational and they are encouraged to use as many games and entertaining activities as possible to introduce language themes and vocabulary. In the first part of the class, all the language taught is focused around real language used on camp and the objective is to make children feel so comfortable using the language that they will naturally produce it later on camp. We do not focus too much on precise language accuracy on this camp, and instead try to get the campers to feel that English is a natural form of communication for them. The second part of the class (called “English in Action” on this camp) is dedicated to learning and being exposed to English through different media (Film/T.V./Music /Comics/Drama etc…), with the objective of exposing campers to English to a greater cultural level than school or academy classes can achieve, hence creating a more natural association with English usage. TECS has taken this learning methodology from Scandinavian and the Low Countries, where children learn more English through cultural exposure outside school than they do in English class. In Magic Village there will be certain times of the day that will be run in Total English outside of class where campers must speak entirely in English. The idea behind this is not only to promote more times of natural communication but also for Magic Village to act as a sort of ‘stepping stone’ to our Little Village camp which runs completely through Total English and is where we hope our Magic Village campers will return to in the future. On this camp there will also always be ongoing competitions associated to the Pre Teens Total English programme with both the English Star Award and the House Competition being designed as programmes to maximize the usage of English on camp. These techniques are again based on the theory that the more motivated the learner, the more he/she will speak. This camp is not ideal for students completely new to English; however a high level of English is not required either. As classes are run through more active and fun activities than in other camps, class sizes tend to be a little larger with around 15 students per class, in order to provide enough numbers to make activities dynamic and exciting. Students are not divided by level in this camp which adds to this natural learning experience.
“Total English” (in Little Village)
is a programme where the English language encompasses everything and becomes the only language of communication. In class, emphasis is placed on oral learning as classes are run without worksheets and class sizes are kept very small to ensure maximum oral student participation. Outside the classroom, as students are required to speak English between themselves in all moments, the oral and comprehension progress is extremely impressive even though no special focus is given to writing or grammar development. In this camp, extra focus is put on educational development with part of the Total English programme geared toward developing students´ maturity and responsibility levels, which is especially achieved through the unique “TECS Young Achievers Award”. Students in this programme not only improve their oral English dramatically but they also make big steps in learning how to use English as language of communication outside of the classroom, be it through chatting to friends, running sports sessions for their peers (part of the Young Achievers Award) or doing an English presentation to the parents on departure day. This programme is only suitable for students with intermediate speaking level upwards and a recommendation from a teacher is required for entry to the camp. It is the elite of oral English learning and teachers are carefully selected for this camp.
“Immersion English” (in Go Camp)
from the teaching perspective this camp is identical to Full Immersion English with the difference being outside the classroom where organized activities take place in English but pastoral care in Spanish. The objectives in this camp are to achieve of course a more modest English progress but to provide such a comfortable and well supported first experience with language camps that campers wish to progress on to more intensive learning experience of other camps. Welfare Care is of the upmost focus in this camp.
“Total English Immersion Plus” (in TECS College):
The next step to the “Total English” programme. This programme 100% run in English but the focus is mainly the personal developing, therefore we do not have classes but workshops and development projects (Please see TECS College notes).
For more information on each camp please go here.