After spending their first few weeks settling in the Village, kids in the new grade have begun making their way up to school each morning to participate in English Boot Camp.

From chemistry class to Village Time, almost every activity we conduct here in the Village is done so in the English language. Therefore, it is imperative that we encourage the young men and women residing here to practice their English skills from an early stage and on a regular basis.

The levels of English vary greatly from one child to another. While some kids may be considered highly competent in speaking, they may struggle when it comes to writing. Others may be knowledgeable yet lack the confidence to utilize their skills. Therefore, the aim of the English Boot Camp is not only to boost kids' English skills but also to nurture their confidence.

One of the messages we try to promote here in the Village is that it is better to try and fail than never to try at all. At the beginning of Boot Camp, the tutors worked together with the kids to establish class rules. One rule which was heavily emphasized across all classes was to refrain from ridiculing one another when trying to speak in English.

Each day, the kids participate in a number of activities designed to make learning English language more fun. Together we have discussed the reasons why we are learning English and the importance of having a universal means of communication in the modern day. The kids also set their personal goals related to the English language.

Activities that have ensued throughout English Boot Camp have included games, videos, songs and sketches - all of which have helped the kids to discover that learning a new dialect doesn't necessarily have to be dull.

The kids have also been attending  workshops based on study techniques. Revising is something we all must do in order to prepare for examinations but the way in which we do it can differ.  While some retain knowledge better through diagrams and flash cards, others find group discussions and summarizing more effective. The workshop encouraged the kids to explore the techniques which best suited them as an individual.

It would be safe to say that English Boot Camp has been a major success. The kids' confidence is steadily increasing both in class and during informal activities. The regular school schedule will resume as of next week - when we also welcome back the kids from the Imena and Icyizere grades. 

Submitted by Leigh Woods, Village Fellow 2016