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"English all day, every day"

Brecht De Geyter, Roeland volunteer in the middle with his group in Sutton Town

“Some children are worried that the language labs on our language camps will be too difficult for them. But as soon as they arrive at camp, they realise that they already know many words in the foreign language they have come to learn”, says Roeland volunteer Brecht De Geyter. “We build on what the participants already know. This helps to increase their self-confidence.”

Brecht: “We encourage the children and young people to speak English all the time. If they do slip back into their mother-tongue, we try to explain to them that the best way to learn a new language is by actively using that language. We operate a zero-tolerance policy and they understand that, but sometimes the temptation to go for the easy option is just too great.”

“It might all sound a bit strict and disciplined, but that is not really the case. In daily life, I work as an English and Biology teacher and I see clear differences between a Roeland camp and school.”

Small Groups

“At Roeland we split the children and young people into groups according to their level. This ensures that we quickly form a personal bond with them and find out what their interests are so that we can focus on those subjects in our language labs. In a class of 25 people, that just isn’t an option.”

“We plan three language labs per day, each lasting between one and one and a half hours. In between the language labs we offer sport, games, theatre classes, workshops etc. All that enthusiasm, solidarity and playfulness is then carried into our language labs. This is essential; otherwise the transition from activity to language lab would simply be too challenging.”

Themed Days

“I’m a huge fan of the themed days which we organise at the Sutton Town camp. This camp welcomes participants from all around the world: Austria, Hong Kong, Iceland, Mexico, Argentina, Italy…On International Day, for example, the children and young people set up an international market and tell others all about their home land, including tips about their country and its culture. And on Fright Night, each group produces a scary musical. The themed days are the best way to encourage the young people to get to grips with a language. Everyone wants to work together and do their absolute best for the benefit of the whole group.”

50 Years of Roeland

“Roeland will be celebrating its 50th birthday in 2020. Many mums and dads who went to Roeland camps themselves as a kid realise how important it is to be able to speak other languages in today’s multi-lingual society. But more importantly, they want their own children to create great memories at Roeland - just like they did themselves.”