“Many of our students spend their English classes at school doing vocabulary or intensive reading exercises. Our classes [at camp] on the other hand were almost all speaking, which is the most fun skill to teach and to learn. In this type of environment, students had a space to speak without the fear of being incorrect that they might sometimes experience at school.”
“The partner/group work and hands-on projects were particularly successful…. They had specific tasks and common goals, which allowed them to use practical English. Everything felt seamless and even without buses I felt confident in where we were going at all times.”
“I think one of the most successful parts of camp was the use of projects and activities that encouraged the students to be courageous and take risks. During our scavenger hunt in Seoul, I was so impressed by three Japanese students in my group who, unbidden, went up to people they didn’t know, to speak their non-native language, in order to complete a group challenge. It takes so much courage to talk with strangers that may not speak your language. These students were determined to be an effective part of their team. Furthermore, I know these projects made a difference because I recently received an email from one of my students that included this: ‘If I didn’t try this camp, I can’t be brave.’”
“The fact that an alumni from last year scored one of the highest on the school wide English exam (with the other two close behind) is a testament to this camp’s impact on students’ futures.”
“One of my favorite parts was climbing all the way to the top of Fushimi Inari with a group of the boys. That was one of the first days that I recognized how happy my students from my own school were as opposed to how I see them at school. They had already formed a large group of friends, Korean and Japanese students together, and they were laughing the entire way up even though it was pretty grossly hot! Even when we got to the bottom and everyone was sweating profusely, you could actually see how excited they were. My co-teacher recently texted me to tell me that the 5 boys who came on the camp have had a significant attitude change since coming back and that they were much more active in class. This indicates to me that the kids really understand what opportunities they can get by working hard at English, and they must remember how happy they were during this camp as well.”
“It takes me a little bit longer to form personal relationships, making me seem maybe standoffish or not as loud as the other teachers, but I think that made some of the quieter students a lot more comfortable with me. A lot of the camp’s communication was based on jokes and miscommunication, but I think with me the students wanted to have authentic conversations, and they felt comfortable taking the time to form real questions whose answers they really wanted to know, and they really did want to talk about personal things like their families (and even views of marriage with one student!).”
Hello, my name is Lee Won Bin. I am 19 years old and I am a 3rd year student at Naju Technical High School in South Korea. This year, I passed the Korea Electric Power Corporation and I am waiting for my internship from December 27. When I was a middle school student, I had no confidence in English and naturally I couldn’t talk to my native English teacher. But I entered high school and met Mathew teacher. The teacher always encourages me if I can’t. So I participated in the teacher’s class passionately and tried to speak English. Also, I applied to the English camp organized by the teacher and it became the most valuable experience in my life. In addition to taking classes with Japanese students, using one year’s worth of English in a week, and taking classes with five great teachers, I had a great experience. I could see myself changing little by little in this camp and became confident in English. Also, Mathew teacher always said try try try. So I’ve become a person to try everything. To my surprise, I even passed the entrance examination for Samsung, which is taking the English test. I think this is because of the camp.
“I learned so much about myself and our students...They have opened themselves up so much to the world and improving their communication skills, and as their teacher I could not be any prouder.”