Many teenagers come to the UK in summer to take short courses to improve their English. These courses range from 1-4 weeks, and are designed to give students experience of British life and culture as well as language.
The benefits of short courses in the UK include improving students’ confidence through successful interaction in English, and exposure to different accents, from the UK and abroad, which improves listening comprehension.
Mixing with people from all over the world not only improves listening skills, but also adds to cultural awareness and understanding. International themes are a common topic for English classes, and with good reason. Learning the language is only half the fun… there’s the food, the music and the traditions, not to mention the football!
Above all, summer schools can provide a positive experience of language learning, which means the students take home a more positive attitude to their studies and are likely to continue to build on what they have learnt at summer school.
Quite apart from language learning, coming to a summer school in the UK helps teens become more independent and self-reliant. It develops their social skills as well as their communication abilities, and helps them acquire the skills they need for adult life in a supportive environment.
So what should you look for in a short course at an English summer school for teens? Well firstly, a safe, welcoming environment is crucial. Kids need to be secure and happy to learn, and the school should have a friendly atmosphere and well-trained, English-speaking staff as a basic requirement.
Educationally, an English language course should provide opportunities for review and reinforcement of essential language, using themes related to the language needed outside of class. There needs to be a focus for the course. A project with an attainable outcome to stimulate communication is an ideal goal, especially if there is a presentation at the end, which can be much more motivating than an exam!
Work on communication skills is essential, and should be integrated with vocabulary and grammar to ensure balanced content. But above all practice is the most important feature of a short course in the UK. The think missing from most classrooms abroad is the opportunity for extended speaking practice, and this is just what a short course in the UK can provide in abundance.