After an incredible summer (Westbourne never shuts!) we say a sad farewell to our annual Accelerated English Language Summer School, making it the perfect time to catch up with Mr Murray, Summer School Co-Ordinator and Westbourne ESL teacher, to hear a little more about what the students got up to!
In true Westbourne style, Mr Murray starts by telling us about the wonderful children that he got to know over the last few weeks. A smaller summer school by many standards our focus is on ensuring students achieve the very best results in the best possible learning environment, just as we run the main school, getting to know each and every one of them and their interests is vital to that success.
One of our students Andre, from Germany, has also been kind enough to share his experience with us in a case study, he has since joined our IB Diploma Programme and we look forward to welcoming several other students back to Westbourne next academic year as they enrol on the main school programmes. Those vital three weeks in August have proved an excellent way for many Westbourne pupils to ease into the life of a Westbourne boarding student.
Developing academic English from day one comes hand-in-hand with ensuring that students feel at home while in the UK. Taking that into consideration, Mr Murray quickly ensured students became familiar with the Penarth area, their new home for three weeks. A first day trip for ice cream on Penarth Pier was the perfect way to forget about jetlag!
Whilst technically called ‘Summer School’, Mr Murray reassures us there are no scary tests and no long-winded textbooks, learning thoughout the ESL Programme is interactive and fun.
Learning happens naturally by focusing on a subject each morning, then involving the students in a broad range of fun activities each afternoon so the topic matter is fully reinforced throughout the day.
Importantly, getting everyone to talk to one another and encouraging them to express themselves. As Summer School at Westbourne is drawn from such a diverse range of nationalities, the group mix was such that there was no other common language to converse in…so it was English all the time!
Favourite activities for the group this year has been the visit to the home of international rugby, the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Rock climbing, deep in the Welsh valleys and an exciting full-day trip to Central London.
Avril from Argentina, who is starting at Westbourne this September, cited tennis at the International Sports Village as her favourite activity so far, the training ground for the London Olympics in 2012 we’re delighted to be able to offer use of the outstanding facilities to our students. Avril enjoyed football before moving to Penarth and was excited to get involved in a new sport.
Whilst each of the activities is usually followed by a presentation that requires children to develop their public speaking skills, it feels more like spending time with friends than studying. Rachel, who has moved to Wales from Hong Kong and is joining us in Pre-IB, pointed out that her presentation skills have improved noticeably.
We talk about what a brilliant opportunity is to take summer courses and the fact that all students will leave enriched by the international experience they have received and their newly build confidence in speaking, writing and understanding the English language. A statement brilliantly summarised by Andre below.