Both Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster are quintessentially British. I plan that these are on the 2014 excursion programme. Many of the staff are also quintessentially British as are the UK Reps. Our students develop their skills in our language as an internationally-accepted communicative medium and the emphasis is on the internationality of the experience they have with us, but in 2014 we will use the fact that our students are in England rather than a classroom in a foreign country to structure into the teaching and excursion programme a sense of where this language comes from, not so much as a study of the development of the language, but a look at the history, institutions, culture and humour of the UK which are reflected in its language, ultimately as an insight into what it’s like to be British and what Britishness is. This will use the skills of all the Brits on the Course.
Our Director of Studies, Joe Wallis, has told me for many years how important passion is. We all do best in what we are passionate about. Our best teachers have a passion for teaching. Those in charge of sports have a passion for creating a great atmosphere. Vacational Studies is my own lifelong passion. All our young visitors have a passion for something; some area of great enthusiasm and maybe of expertise. The trick is to find it. I shall task the Apprentices, UK Reps and Prefects to find each person’s passion and encourage them to talk about it.
This will be theme of the 2014 ‘Developing Me’ board meetings.
Other organisations have spotted what I do and seen it as simply a way for the Director to meet the students so that they gain from his linguistic expertise. Vacational Studies Board Meetings are absolutely not for this reason. The Board Meetings that I introduced four years ago serve to keep in the front of our young visitors’ minds the reason they are here.
Vacational Studies is an experience. There is a special way to approach this experience. The benefits can be huge. Our young visitors need to know this and discuss it and how it can benefit them.
Vacational Studies is all about the development of young people. The theme of the Board Meetings is ‘The Developing Me’. The subject that everyone knows most about is themselves. Vacational Studies is all about communication. What people enjoy talking about most is what they are passionate about. We shall be concentrating on passions.
Most tourists see the outside of our great institutions, such as Buckingham Palace and The Houses if Parliament. This year I hope to be able to arrange to go inside both of these buildings. The slight element of uncertainty is that they are working buildings and, if there are events of national importance, Buckingham Palace may be needed as a residence and MPs may be called back to Parliament, so visits would be curtailed. In 2013, many of our students went inside Buckingham Palace. I went, too. For me, it was quite magical. Not only were the rooms sumptuous and, of course, palatial, but the building was steeped in history. The gardens were a revelation. The Palace is situated in the heart of the countryside – except that this countryside is in the centre of London. High earth banks on the sides mute any noise and the formal gardens give way to open country that stretches as far as the eye can see. At the end of the tour, a door is the wall is opened and you are suddenly back in the middle of a city with all its traffic noise – back from the land of Narnia. A very special experience.
In addition to the musical ‘Matilda’ and ‘War Horse’, I have decided on ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ as a play. I saw it first with my sons. They loved it and still talk about it. It is not too heavy-going for non-native speakers and is cleverly staged and brilliantly acted. It is now one of the ‘must see’ plays in London. I have only 26 tickets. First come, first served.
We now have http://www.vacstuds.com/parents-2013/ There will be one for 2014. I am all in favour of openness, but I prefer to keep students’ names private and I am sure parents agree. Also, the trouble with being an innovator is that one’s ideas get copied. There is one web site on which I can see my ideas regurgitated within days of my having had them. This is one of several ‘organisations’ run by former members of staff which present themselves as ‘fully accredited’ – by an organisation that has set itself up as an accrediting agency, but which is accredited only by itself. So I have a couple of ‘secret’ pages, visible only to parents and staff.
In these recessionary times, it is useful to consider what we can do to enhance eventual employment possibilities. Universities and employers love qualification certificates. We are a Centre for the Trinity examining board and this summer will offer its range of spoken qualifications with a certificate given in each grade. Students can take the examination each summer and gain a higher grade certificate each time.
The examination will be a natural follow-on from the work we are doing on formal spoken English. It will require no additional preparation (although our Director of Studies will offer this) and places no stress on candidates. Students will be entered at the correct level for their ability (which we shall decide) so their qualification will be in one of these bands:- Initial; Elementary; Intermediate; Advanced with a grade within each of these bands:-
*This is an international certificate that is calibrated to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and which is accepted by employers, trainers and universities around the world.
No one has ever ‘failed’ the Trinity examination with us. Many take it each year at a higher level. All students enjoy the experience – as do the examiners (or so they tell me.)
As I am proud of what we offer young people, I am curious to know why some parents decide not to choose us for their children. I learned from one parent that it was because another school offered a choice of extra-cost activities (horse-riding, golf, etc.) and a choice of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 weeks stays. It took me back to our early years in the 1970s. I’m sure I wrote about why we don’t offer these in our 1970-something brochure, but I thought it would be an idea to explain again here why we have ‘been there, done that’ and dropped the whole idea. We used to offer golf and horse-riding – and archery and guitar lessons (and others), too. They looked good in the brochure and, in themselves, were a good idea. The more, the merrier. In practice, however, what happened was that all these activities took students away from the activities we organised and away from their new international friends. Those who had been booked for these extras did not want to take them and we had to oblige children to do what they did not want to do. In the end, we simply discontinued offering these extras. We think we offer a super an action-packed programme in an international milieu without the need for extras. As for offering a choice of lengths of Course, we used to do this, too. I discontinued this as I think the best way to create an international community is to have everyone arrive on Day 1 (knowing no one) and leave on Day 28 (knowing everyone and in tears). Between these days, friendships are made and a real community spirit is created. So (apart from the few on the Lite programme) this is what we do. Our Course is a structured learning experience. Events like the Board Meetings above are, I think, far more relevant to this developmental experience than distractions which fill up the time. I wonder if those courses offering a multiplicity of choices have Board Meetings and Public Speaking competitions as well as:-
I suspect not… Vacational Studies in 2014 will remain as multinational as always. A major change for this year is that I have extended our age-range to include the full European secondary school age-range to 18. As schools do not exclude 18s because of their legal ‘adult’ status, nor shall I. Most 18 year-olds are still at school. I think Vacational Studies should not be an exception. Increasing the upper age limit has led to the development of a hierarchy of positions of responsibility which I describe on the page ‘House Captains, Prefects and Apprentices’.
Vaccles are the currency of the Course and are in several denominations. They are paid out for good work, using English, good behaviour, participation, etc. There are also Vaccle fines for lack of effort, not using English, poor behaviour, absence of participation, etc. To spend Vaccles, students will have to earn them. Vaccles can be used to ‘buy’ various treats – such as internet access time, chocolate bars and jumping the queue….
Here is a short film describing ‘vaccles’.
This may or may not be offered for 2014. Hereunder the 2013 rationale:-
‘The Course is structured around a four-week period. The task-based project takes this length of time to complete and I know from experience that it is in Week 2½ that the inhibitions and barriers break down and this is when rapid progress is made. Our students do not find four weeks too long. The tears at the end show this. But four weeks is a big step for some teenagers – and their parents – so here is a the ‘Lite’ programme. Any two weeks can be chosen. It is ‘Lite’ because it is shorter, but also because whatever is in the programme during the two weeks not chosen will clearly not be available. A few former students are unavailable for the duration, but I feel their presence will add to the Course. For the uncertain newcomers, I suggest the first two weeks as the last two weeks can be added.’
I think what makes us special is the continuity. Not only are we well into the second generation of students with children from the ’70s and ’80s keen that their children have the same fantastic experiences they had as youngsters, but there is a huge continuity of staff. Our British students (UK reps) are an innovation that few organisations emulate. My belief is that a Course cannot be international unless the UK is represented in its student body. There is an added advantage, though. Our UK Reps are almost always excellent (they are on a one week probation when they come to weed out those who fall short of expectations) and most of them apply for jobs on the Sports/Social side of the Course two years after their time as a student. This means that they know exactly how the Course runs, what activities work (and don’t work) and what the students want. They have been there; they know. In the year after their stay with us as a student, they may apply to be an ‘Apprentice’ on the next year’s Course in preparation for their work as staff. For teaching staff, Vacational Studies is an attractive prospect. We have teacher development sessions during the Course headed by our Director of Studies. Each year, I develop one or two talented staff by funding a DELTA course for them. This is a top TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification. It is expensive (which Vacational Studies covers) and demanding of time and energy (which the member of staff provides.) Several senior teachers with us this year are DELTA-qualified. And with most students coming on personal recommendation, we are also incredibly international. Vacational Studies has always been run by me. I started it as ‘Educational Holidays’ in 1971 which I ran with two others. In 1973, I formed ‘Vacational Studies’ without partners. The values established over generations are constant, but every year is different and every year is special. For all our students it is a developmental summer and, as I shall say to them many times, ‘you are creating at this moment memories that will stay with you for ever.’ I have trademarked our new strapline ‘Days I’ll remember all my life™’.
We try to make the learning part of the Course as different as possible from the student’s lessons at his or her own school. No one wants to come to England in the holidays to go straight back to school. When everyone has arrived, we assess their level of English. We do this partly with a written test we have used for some years. Written English is only one of the skills, though, so we also look at spoken English. In addition, we try to ensure that the class is made up of those of a similar age, of boys and girls and of different nationalities. When we have class composition right, we look at how everyone works together and may, in the first few days, move people up or down according to their ability. Because the level of ability in the ‘first’ class varies so much from year to year, a student may be in this class for two or three years even though he or she may have made great progress. It all depends on the relative abilities of the other students and the next highest level. It is the actual teaching that is so different from everything our students have experienced. Much of the Course is taught through the medium of video-creation. The teacher will present the class with a theme. This theme forms the basis of the most of the work done in class. From this theme, the students will, by working in groups, create a script under the aegis of the teacher. In this process various aspects of grammar and orthography will come up for analysis. When the script has been decided on, the class will choose who are to work on the editing and production side of the video and who are to be the actors. Using digital film cameras, the classes shoot their films. Using Windows MovieMaker or other software, the classes then edit the footage. By this time, each class will be working together in an international group using English as a working language. They will probably no longer be aware that they are using English as a subject. It will have become second-nature. The edited footage is then uploaded to Shutterfly so that everyone can see the result. Take a look at last year’s student videos by clicking here. To help our students use English colloquially and with facility, we have a number of English youngsters who join the Course at my invitation and are just like all the other students with the exception that their ‘job’ is to mix with everyone and to be ‘learning resources’. We also use them to give one-to-one help if we feel that one of the youngsters would benefit, socially or educationally, from the assistance of a peer.
Vacational Studies is a very structured experience. While a young person is with us, we aim to provide immersion in a new and engaging multicultural English-speaking environment; a life that is utterly different from life at home. We construct a teaching programme that bears no resemblance to traditional English lessons at school, an activity programme that is novel and exciting and English-speaking friends from all over the world. We ask that parents trust us to get on with the job and know that we will contact them if there is something they need to know. In this context, constant contact with the known and familiar detracts from this experience. For this reason, we ask that mobile phones are not brought and, if they are brought, that they are kept in the office for use only on trips. We have two telephone afternoons so that parents can talk to their children and they can make and receive calls on the payphone any day after activities end at 21.00. During the 2009 Courses, we found that a small number of children had second mobile phones hidden in their dorms at the request of parents. In our rules, which parents give signed agreement to, we state our policy on mobile phones. Just as parents have trusted us for 38 years to provide exactly what we describe, we trust parents to abide by the agreement they have signed. It is important for us to know that the children for whom we accept responsibility understand that their parents trust us. If a parent asks a chld to act against the rules, we are undermined. We cannot discipline children for the actions of parents who undermine us. By the same token we cannot accept responsibility for children who selectively break our rules at the request of parents. We consider this makes it impossible for us to exercise our duty of care and is thus a breach of contract.
In the last 39 years, many of our students have achieved international success. I am featuring two of them here. Vytas Paskunas came to us from Lithuania when in 1992 when his country was just emerging from years under Soviet control. He writes modestly of his achievements. He achieved five ‘A’ grades at ‘A Level’ and went on to achieve a First in Maths at Cambridge. He is now a Professor of Mathematics in Bielefeld, Germany. Here is his letter to me: [Letter from Vytas Paskunas] In Vytas’s case these most certainly are ‘Days I’ll remember all my life’. Jesus Silva was with us for several summers in the 1970s as a student and the 1980s as a helper. He is now the Spanish Ambassador to Panama. Here is a link to a newspaper interview he gave when he was Ambassador to Jamaica. [Article from Jamaican press about Jesus Silva] My boys and I were his guests at his residence in Kingston a few years ago.
(Articles and information on other VacStuds students gratefully received…)
We have discontinued this concept in favour of Apprenticeships.
Vacational Studies limits the number of students from any particular country and tries to balance the number of boys and girls. This engineering is a clearly stated policy to create a Course on which English is the language used socially and boys and girls can make friends from many countries. In most areas of life nowadays, this would be simply impossible.
Vacational Studies Just what is Vacational Studies? Are we a Summer School for children, a Summer Course for teenagers, a residential English Course for young people, an English Summer Camp, a Summer Camp in England? A few years ago to find something you wanted, like a Summer School for children in England, you would ask people you knew and they would give recommendations. It was quite simple – people who did not have experience of something asked people who did. And if you found something really good, you would tell your friends and neighbours otherwise they would never find out about it. Now, there’s no need to ask people. You can ask a search engine. Just enter a few words of a question and you get millions of answers. No need to go to the trouble of a conversation to elicit information; there it all is without a word being spoken. Just another click or two and there are web sites to put flesh on this information. Once there were informed people. Now there’s just information. Raw knowledge of variable quality. Once there were people who knew. Now there’s Google. ‘We’ve found this great course in England for the summer. Let me give you the address.’ No longer. Anyone can find addresses – of the www. variety. Pre-internet, it was personal recommendation. Now there’s ‘search engine optimisation’. Just include enough information to cover all the words used in questions people might ask – and you can be up there in the first page of the answers they get. No point in being on the second page. No one looks at that. If the words that might crop up in questions don’t lend themselves to a natural inclusion on the pages of your web site, no matter. They can be invisibly placed on the site, embedded in the page, not for anyone to read, but just to be found by the spider-like search engine crawlers, trawling the web for references. Google, we’re told, doesn’t like these, but plenty of web sites have them and have had them for several years. Our SEOs (Search Engine Optimisers) asked me for several hundred words and phrases that they thought people looking for Courses such as ours might tap into a search engine. To understand what people might be looking for, I had first to clarify what we are. For those who know us, this is clear. We are more than a language Course in the summer; more than a summer camp in England; more than a Summer Course for Juniors. We are a complete growing-up experience; a step towards adulthood; a rite of passage. And for many, I am a contact in England for everything from a full-time school to how to find a UK manufacturer of toys made out of plush. I set my mind to it and came up with these (the list goes on and on, so there’s no need to read it…):-
vacanza studio divertimento insegnamento sport ed amicizia tutto questo e` Mery Hare CORSO DI INGLESE ESTIVO CORSO ESTIVO DI INGLESE ragazzi di tutto il mondo qui per un solo scopo imparare e divertirsi attivita` estive studio estivo sport estivo riviste e film college campi da calcio,tennis,piscina,palla a volo,soft ball,basketball !!! studio inglese posto perfetto per ragazzi ed adolescenti posto perfetto per imparare l`inglese posto perfetto per divertirsi posto perfetto per passare un mese indimenticabile posto migliore per i vostri figli posto migliore per imparare l`inglese divertendosi college che va da ragazzi dagli 11 ai 17 anni college estivo per i vostri figli 1 mese di puro inglese un mese di inglese per voi inglese al 100% inglese e divertimento imparare divertendosi divertendosi imparando divertirsi ed imparare conoscere e giocare apprendere e divertirsi sport e inglese scuola estiva giovani aprendisti di inglese residenza estiva giovani di tutto il mondo vacanza studio INGHILTERRA i numeri uno per l`inglese aprendere l`inglese palla a volo calcio tennis basketball danza piscina nuoto softball volley football inglese studio sport e studio giardino vedre giardino all`italiana giardino all`inglese giardino con spanana il college dei vincenti fico alla ricerca di nuove amicizie giochi e divertimento bellissimo college fichissimo fichissimo college sud inghilterra vicino londra vicino oxford tipica strutura inglese nuovi amori nuovi amici nuove conoscenze gite nouve esperienze teatro uscite a teatro gite nei dintorni(DEL COLLEGE) insegnanti aperti insegnanti disponibili staff giovani
Sommerskole, språkskole, Engelsk sommerskole, Engelsk språkskole, Ferieskole, Gøy i England Lære Engelsk Internasjonal skole England gøy Storbritania gøy å lære Storbritania sommerskole Shopping for ungdom Møt folk fra hele verden Sport i England Fotballskole Tennisskole Rugbyskole Cricketskole Bordtennis Fritidsaktiviteter Morro for alle fra 11-17 Møt folk fra Europa Europa møt folk Lær Engelsk i sommer Lær Engelsk Badbasseng England Slapp av i ferien Frihet for foreldre Kom i form aktivitetsskole møt gamle venner Få nye venner
Camp Cours Anglettere Activites de vacances Activites de vacamces damglettere Activite du camp
Ferienlager Kurs Aktiviteten Spaß Englisch Lernen Schule sprachreise sommerferien ausland sprachreise sommerferien england englisch international unterricht unterricht ausfluege international London camp international 4 wochen englisch spass 4 wochen sprachreise englisch Internat vier wochen sport Camp sport England Unterricht sport spass
Cursos de ingles Cursos para adolecentes Escuela de ingles en inglaterra Actividades para el verano Actividades para chicos y chicas en inglaterra Escuela en inglaterra para un mes Un mes para aprender ingles Un colegio en inglaterra para chicos y chicas en verano Inglaterra Colegio de ingles Escuela en verano para aprendere ingles Chicos y chicas en un colegio un mes para aprendere el ingles Campo esculea para aprender ingles Cursos para mejorar el ingles divertiendose Ingles y deporte Un mes para hacer deporte y aprender ingles Ingles y deportes divirtiendose Escuelas inglesas en Inglaterra Cursos language for children or juniors learning english language in the respect of students’ parents learning english language kids learning english make a living learning english,sports activities les brochures de séjour linguistiques voir bulletin d’inscription lettera di presentazione a uno studente in inglese lettre de recommandation en +anglais pour etudiant gratuit lettre de recommandation par un enseignant à un étudiant gratuit lettre de recommendation pour eleves exemples gratuits lezioni di inglese non ha pagamento a westminster londra lista de platos tipico de inglaterra london paddington nach newbury london schülerfahrten sommer map of cheam school menu tipico inglese menù tipico inglese menüfolge iinternational newbury londres kilometros newbury summer school engish ordine grandezza english origine del basketball in lingua english oxford summer school stipendium schueler parlare inglese all’aeroporto pass merit distinction passaporto europeo inglese b photo body study english piatto tipico inglese a natale pie student plat typique de l’angleterre platos frio de irlanda preisselbeer englisch preoccupazione genitori discoteche programme summer jam quel est le plat ” typique ” en angleterre ? quel train de londres jusqu a poole quels vetements prendre en séjour linguistique rationale course residential english kid summer and this is a store for some copy and paste-type links (on the assumption that no one will have read this far…):- Very few places remaining for Norwegian girls and boys*, Spanish girls and boys*, Portuguese-speaking girls and boys*. *For these nationalities/Houses, please check with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
sejours linguistiques anglais
social life in sports
social studies all you need to know
sport social activities
sports language of kids
student jobs summer
student summer vacancies
student summer jobs
student vacancies summer
study english for children
study on children in school
summer english courses
summer jobs student
summer student jobs
summer english school children
summer english school children
great summer experience boys english school children
english lessons youngsters
summer job and and international
summer job application form
What do you think? If you have tapped in different search terms, let me know. Also, may I have some more French, Spanish and German, please?
Now that I have included all these terms,maybe those searching will find us. But the sad part of it all is that that search engines finding animated web sites are no indicator of quality. For
that, there is nothing to beat personal recommendation – and that’s what Vacational Studies relies on.