Working as an ALT we are often asked to work at different schools for various reasons. Not just the assigned visit schools, but also the schools with no ALTs or special events. Even thought it is that start of the school year Karyo High School held a special event for their new first year students. Karyo is known as being one of the top schools for English language learning in all of Yamaguchi. The school even prides themselves on that very fact.
The event was a English Day Camp. It was scheduled to last a full school day and was packed with different activities for students and ALTs. The day was a English only day, so everything was to be spoken in English. I guess it could be compared to an English immersion program, but done for only one day.
Because everything was in English the tasks and games had been rather simple. Which worked well for students who are just starting out with a new school. Their English level appears to be high, but individually the students were at different levels. Also it is a new school year and many students haven’t gotten to know each other well enough yet. Then mix in the new strange ALTs who “only” speak English, it could get a little unnerving for the kids.
Games and activities had been riddled with giggles and laughter. ALTs mixed with students to converse in things like: telephone, speed friends (like speed dating), and a cooking lesson – making onigiri. There was also a scavenger hunt and jeopardy game. Also break time for students to relax and often times chat with the ALTs.
Sometimes these breaks turned into clapping hand games and silly faces, but who really needs to get into the details.
In the end the English Day Camp was a ton of fun and very successful. Yes, like any events there is always room to improve, but overall it was well put together and kept the kids speaking and thinking in English. Well, for the most part. Can’t keep them from speaking to one another in Japanese, it isn’t possible.
I am looking forward to attending the event again next year and I am thankful I was invited this year. English camps are always fun. Teaching staff have always been welcoming and fun to work with. The students are always great, no matter what their English level. The great part about events like this is it gives everyone an opportunity to meet new people and catch up with those you already know.
But honestly the best part about the Karyo camp was that I was not stuck behind a desk like I had most of spring break.