Friday, June 28, 2013

Language Learning Methods: Language Camps

In the past we've covered a few specific methods for learning languages, such as immersion, choral drilling, and flashcards. Today we'll be covering camps, in which learners, usually children, go to a country where the target language is spoken.

Spending time in a foreign country allows learners to experience everyday life, see the foreign language objects in the flesh, and put names to faces, so to speak. There are many advantages to language camps, particularly for those who are tied down and can't just leave their home to go abroad permanently to learn another language.

S'mores and campfire stories while
learning a foreign language, anyone?
Language camps can be great for older children, especially those in secondary education as younger children in primary school would be more likely to have problems spending extended periods of time away from their parents.

When tied in with entertaining activities, the rate at which people learn is greatly increased. There's nothing better than enjoying yourself, and it's even better when you don't even realise you're learning a language at the same time. When organised as part of a school visit, teachers can also benefit from the experience. They can brush up on the languages that they may not get to speak so often with native speakers, as well as showing their pupils everything they've been teaching them with real people.

The only downside to language camps is the expense. Travelling to another country and paying for the service and accommodation can cost a fair amount, and there probably aren't many schools that would be willing to pay for the service.

However, if the school is willing to pay or you have the disposable income to afford such a trip for yourself, your children, or are part of a school, then a week or two in a language camp or foreign language activity centre could be just the right thing to improve your language skills and have a great time doing it.