Saturday, September 6, 2014

English Learning with Fun- Holiday Camp for destitute children

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The Rainbow Institute of Communication and English (RICE), conducted an intensive English skills development holiday camp, for destitute children in the Gangodawila Girls Home, Nugegoda. The girls who are aged between 6-18 years, are innocent victims of social circumstances. They have been sent to the home through Court Order.
“This was a CSR activity. The programme was tailored not only to improve the children’s skills in English, but also to develop their creativity, leadership and personalities, as in the case of our regular children’s English courses”, said Dr Mahim Mendis, Chief Educational Advisor of the Rainbow Institute.
Conducted by english teacher trainees
The 10 day long English camp was conducted by the trainee English teachers who are currently following the Access Certificate in English Language Teaching (ACE) at the Rainbow Institute, together with their instructors. The ACE programme with international benchmarks from City and Guilds, International, UK, is one of the key courses on offer at the Rainbow Institute of Communication and English. 
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Theory and teaching practice 
The Access Certificate in English Language Teaching of City and Guilds, International , UK, requires the learner to put in One hundred and fifty hours (150) hours and is held over a duration of six months. The programme includes theory and teaching practice.
A special feature of the current batch of ACE trainees is that they are professionals from diverse backgrounds such as Accountancy, Human Resources Management , Mathematics and even Molecular Biology. They have a common passion for teaching and are following the ACE course in order to divert their careers to English teaching as an alternate career option or option after retirement from their current jobs. English teaching is practical for them, as they have a high command of the English language.
“We are delighted that such professionals have come forward to cater to the huge need for committed and competent English teachers in Sri Lanka”, said Dr Mendis.
“We are also so happy that our ACE team was able to conduct this programme at the Gangodawila Girls home. These children are marginalized but they are very bright and have great potential to emerge as leaders. We feel privileged that we were able to empower them and inculcate in them a desire to improve their communication skills in English. This will pave the way for a brighter future for them”, Dr Mendis, added.
As in the case of all courses conducted by RICE, modern international English teaching methodology, based on learning through activity, was adopted at the holiday camp too. The programme was carefully planned adhering to well designed results oriented curriculum. The children enjoyed learning through fun activities including pair and group work, audio- visual presentations, language games, quizzes and competitions.
The ACE students and the children had a very enjoyable and productive learning experience at the English camp. The camp ended with a concert presented by the children and an awards ceremony. The children enthralled all those present by demonstrating their talents in song and dance. The highlight of the concert were the speeches delivered in English, testifying to the newly acquired confidence in speaking in English by the children. The evening ended with a dinner party.
Rich experience for children and teachers
“We now realize the importance of learning English. We want to continue developing our skills”, said 18 year old Vasana, who has just sat for her A’Levels, and dreams of becoming an air hostess.
For the ACE teacher trainees too, the camp proved to be a rich experience. After intensively teaching children who are traumatized and deprived of the love and care of families, they are well equipped to handle the most challenging situations in teaching.
The Rainbow Institute team and children built strong bonds with one another during the ten days. They were sad as they bid goodbye to one another at the end of the camp. However they pledged that they will continue to build on the foundation that was laid.
“ The Rainbow Institute is committed to continuing supporting the children in the Gangodawila Girls Home on a long term basis and also other children, youth and adults in Sri Lanka in order to make them strong and confident communicators in English”, maintained Dr Mendis.
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