Teaching Guidelines for Volunteer Teachers


On the first day of the session all the students get tested and assigned into groups by volunteer teachers. For the test all the students are split up into small groups for a written test and an oral interview. Before the test all the teachers get together and choose the main topics and questions for the interview, the assessment criteria, and the grading system. As they talk to the students in their test group they grade them, and when all the teachers gather together after the test they discuss the results of both written and oral parts of the test, and assign all the students into groups according to their language levels. 
We normally have quite a wide range of language levels at each camp session: from Beginners through Advanced. Most of our former teachers have volunteered to teach all ages and language levels. Every teacher is assigned to a classroom and groups rotate according to the daily schedule. Depending on the number of teachers and groups at each session, each teacher would have each particular group either every day or every other day.
ENGLISH, FRENCH, GERMAN classes are taught by foreign volunteer teachers. Each teacher conducts four or five 35-minute classes in the morning from 10:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. daily except excursion days. The lesson plan and structure fall under teacher's discretion. The courses should be designed to be challenging and amusing at the same time with the emphasis made on learning through fun.
Within a variety of techniques/methods of language teaching that can be applied, and the language aspects, each teacher can choose to teach a course concentrating on a particular aspect, such as conversations, grammar in use, language games, discussions, drama, etc., or work out a course based on a combination of aspects. We are open to ideas, so a teacher can feel free to suggest what he/she thinks would work best.

Some of our former teachers have wondered whether they should focus more on culture or grammar, and whether the emphasis should be made on conversation or syntax. You should certainly concentrate more on conversation and improving the students' speaking skills. The cultural aspect is also very important.

Teachers should follow the topics of each day with the students who are close to intermediate and advanced language levels. It's more important to improve the students’ speaking skills, so teachers should encourage them to speak in the class. When the students listen to the teacher, to other students in the class and to the tapes, they improve their listening skills. Teachers can also give them some reading materials like texts, stories, magazine/newspaper articles. They can also think of some exercises to develop the students’ writing and creative writing skills (writing an essay, a composition, etc.). It will be a good idea to give some topical vocabulary on the theme of each day, including words, word combinations and phrases, set expressions, etc.

As far as Grammar is concerned, teachers can certainly give the students some grammar exercises so that they repeat the major grammar themes like verbs and tenses, singular and plural forms of a noun, question forms, etc.

With the students of lower language levels, and especially with the ones who are close to zero level, it would be quite challenging to work within the suggested topic every day. You could give these students some simple vocabulary on each topic of the day, and do more games and creative activities that involve drawing, singing, acting, poetry, etc.
Teaching materials that can be used in the class are as follows: course-books, textbooks, exercise-books, grammar exercises, magazine and newspaper articles, video, educational and music tapes, questionaries for discussion, quizzes, role-plays, fun games and activities, etc., all related to the topic of the day. The most important thing is to encourage the students to speak, but at the same time you should have materials that will help in terms of the contents of the theme and topics to speak about.

In addition to the morning classes each volunteer teacher normally supervises a Creativity Workshop in the afternoon. It's one hour work that involves some creative activity like dancing, singing, acting, performing, drawing, arts and crafts, web design, poetry, etc. The contents of the Creativity Workshop should in some way be related to the general theme of the camp session.

This is the list of some of the Creativity Workshop projects run by our former volunteer teachers: Line Dancing, Square Dancing, Creating the World Anthem, Club of Young Poets, Photo Lab, Time Capsule, Culture of Native Americans, Aboriginal (Native Australian) Painting, Web Design, National US Holidays, Summer School Quilt, Irish Dance, Christmas Story, etc. A teacher chooses an activity according to his/her interests and skills. Ideally, a Creativity Workshop should be related to the theme of the session or to some topic discussed through the session.

A teacher has a Creativity Workshop group for five days. The students come to a workshop class for one hour in the afternoon every day and do a presentation on the sixth day of the camp. Then a new group comes for the next five days and does a presentation on the last day of the camp. A teacher can do the same type of the activity for both workshop groups because there will be different students in each group.