English Summer Camp Extravoganza (Part II)

Award Amount: $150.00
Volunteer(s): J. Guajardo
Locations(s): Rashed
Dates(s): June-July 2009
Participants: 50 male, ages 10-15

The Rashed English Summer Camp Extravaganza (Part II) and Field Trip will almost exactly resemble the same series of summer camps undertaken last year and will consist of the same four components:  An English camp for distinguished students from the younger grades, a leadership camp for distinguished students from the older grades, remedial sessions for all primary grades, and Tawjihi review sessions for the secondary grades.  Major changes this year include a shortening of the length of the camp (to accommodate the PCV’s early COS date and busy schedule associated with packing up and saying good-bye), the retooling of the remedial sessions to include more active and hands-on games/arts and crafts, and the addition of an end of the camp field trip to Petra for the English and leadership camp students to practice their English in a authentic environment.

The first component, the English camp, will be a 3 hour-a-day, 5 day camp over a one week period offered to five outstanding students from each grade 5-7.  Needs targeted by this camp are underdeveloped English proficiencies in all four language skills but especially speaking and listening.  The camp will address these needs by providing a fun, creative environment where students will keep daily journals, solve puzzles, and perform role plays.  Each student will be asked to complete an individual project to be presented during a celebration during the final day (book report, news segment, or story), as well as a group project which will also be presented to the parents (debate, play, or poetry contest).


The second component, the leadership camp, will be a 3 hour-a-day, 5 day camp over a one week period offered to five outstanding students from each grade 8-10.  Needs targeted by this camp include poor decision-making and conflict resolution skills, lack of future goals, narrow understanding of world issues, little tolerance for the other, underdeveloped critical thinking skills, lack of suitable role models, poor teamwork/cooperation skills, and apathy and lack of engagement in the community.  The camp will be run in English, strengthening speaking and listening skills while simultaneously developing students’ communication, decision-making, teamwork, goal-setting, conflict resolution, peer mentoring, and critical thinking skills through workshops, discussions, and fun activities.  Each student will be asked to complete an individual report on an international or local issue and propose a responsible solution, as well as a group community project to be unveiled to parents during a celebration during the final day.  The project chosen last summer, a peer-taught Arabic and English remedial course for elementary school students, was a resounding success, saw 15 elementary students satisfactorily finish the course, and operated throughout both the fall and spring semesters of this past academic year.  The religion teacher will be responsible for assisting implementation of this summer’s chosen community project for the coming year after I have left.

In addition, the centerpiece of the English and leadership camps will be a field trip to Petra (a 15 minute trip by bus) on the 5th day of each camp in order to practice their English with foreigners who don’t speak any Arabic.  Students will prepare questions ahead of time, take notes from the conversations they have, and afterwards debrief what they learned and what defied their expectations.  The goals of this experience are threefold:  to expose students to real foreigners (not only those seen on TV), to motivate students’ interest in English as an applicable skill, and to reward the outstanding students who have invested great effort in learning English throughout the school year.  Each group of campers will be accompanied by the PCV and the PC counterpart.

The third component, the remedial sessions, will be a one hour-a-day 4 day camp over a two week period for each of every three divisions of students (5-6th grades, 7-8th grades, 9-10th grades).  Each division of students will be composed of up to eight weaker students from each class.  Needs targeted by this camp include deficiencies in phonetics, reading, and writing skills.  Students will strengthen these skills through a variety of active games and arts and crafts.

The final component, the Tawjihi review sessions, will be a one and a half hour-a-day, 8 day camp over a two week period offered to up to ten students from each of the 1st secondary and 2nd secondary grades.  Needs targeted by this camp include lack of familiarity with the intricacies of English grammar which will be tested during every student’s 2nd secondary year at school and determine the course of his future.  Students will perform review exercises and competitions and will all take a practice Tawjihi exam at the end of the course.  The goal of the camp is for every student to receive at least a 40% score on the Tawjihi exam.

While these camps require few resources outside of the classroom, there are significant costs which will not be covered by the community’s contribution of 50 JD, such as the two field trips to Petra.  Increasing the community contribution would place too heavy a burden on many poorer families with many children, while lack of funds from outside the community would strip the camps of their centerpiece and opportunity for enrichment of the field trip.  The camps will reuse many of the materials purchased with last year’s Friends of Jordan grant (such as the tape player, bulletin boards, whiteboard, etc.), but a second small grant from Friends of Jordan would help English come alive for those students who work hard and value their education.  This is the most sustainable part of the camp – giving the students an experience that will validate their academic effort and inspire their interest in learning for years to come.  Also in terms of sustainability, the leadership students will also identify a community need and plan a community project to address that need which will be implemented next year under the supervision of the religion teacher.  Although teachers will be involved through chaperoning the field trip, my motivated counterpart unfortunately lives far away in Irbid and will not be present for the camp, while my local counterpart lacks the interest to assist the project in a significant way (I was left to administer the entire camp last year, which was feasible but disappointing).  However, I feel this does not detract from the fact that the students deserve the best summer camp possible.  My primary goals are that students will learn valuable lessons and increase their motivation for learning English while having a good time and that parents will be happy for the low-cost learning opportunity.

FigsThe Monastery, PetraThe Roman Amphitheater, Amman
Camels in PetraThe Kings' Highway
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