Tue, Jul 27, 2004 - Page 4 News List

English camp for underprivileged children begins

SUMMER EDUCATION World Vision and the education firm Studio Classroom are putting on an English camp for families who could not otherwise afford the activity

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

World Vision kicked off the first day of an English summer camp collaboration with the English education company Studio Class-room for disadvantaged children in Jian-tan, Taipei County yesterday.

Children in grades three to six from northern and eastern Taiwan spent their first day enjoying interactive skits performed by Studio Classroom workers and practicing English skills learned through classes organized by the two organizations.

The camp is part of an effort by World Vision and Studio Classroom to bring English education to children from single-parent or low-income families at 43 locations throughout the nation.

Earlier this month, World Vision sent over 40 volunteer teachers to local World Vision centers to teach the English educational program designed by Studio Classroom.

Teachers emphasize the use of games and English-only interactions to teach children basic vocabulary such as colors and animal names, and also phonetic sounds.

"No child should be marginalized," Hank Du (杜明翰), executive director of World Vision, said yesterday about the motive behind the camp and teaching series.

The camp will run twice, with the first group ending their trip today and the second group beginning tomorrow.

Volunteer teacher Jana Liao (廖嘉那), who is a retired English teacher from Taipei's Tung-hu Junior High School, said she felt Taiwan's public education system could benefit from the Studio Classroom's teaching methods.

"There are mostly just small differences between the teaching methods, but I think that it makes a difference in helping kids get used to thinking like foreigners when it comes to English," Liao said, explaining how the work-shop's emphasis on a slow introduction of English terms and no-Chinese learning helps students' grasp of the language.

For example, said Liao, Chinese teachers might teach "A is for Apple" and then give the Chinese translation. The work-shops, on the other hand, emphasize pronunciation of English and prop usage, and also refrain from giving a Chinese explanation.

Children appreciated the extracurricular classes.

"English was so hard, I used to just give up," 8th grader Chen Li-mei (陳麗玫) said.

"But the English teachers from World Vision are more energetic. I'm not afraid to speak English anymore," she said.

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