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International Journal of English Language

and Translation Studies


[ISSN: 2308-5460]

Vol-01, Issue-02
[July-September, 2013]

Editor-in-Chief
Mustafa Mubarak Pathan
Department of English Language & Translation Studies
The Faculty of Arts, the University of Sebha
Sebha, Libya

Indexed in:
DOAJ
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Isla mic World Science Citation Center
Linguistics Abstracts Online
Open J-gate

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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


Table of Contents
Sr.
No.
1
2

10
11
12

13

14

15

16

Title of the Paper / Name of the Author(s)/ Country


Editorial
A Socio-linguistic Perspective to the Language Change of Television News
Broadcasting in Iran
- Shahla Simin, Hosna Kasma ee, Atiye Ezzati, Freshteh Teimouri &
Arineh Minasian, Iran
EFL Learners Difficult Role Transition from Secondary School to University:
From the P erspective and Perceptions of EFL Teachers of TBLT in Western
China
- Feng Teng, China
English Language Teaching and Learning during Holiday Camps: A Case Study
from Malaysia
- Dr. Ria Hanewald, Malaysia
English Metafunction Analysis in Chemistry Text: Characterization of Scientific
Text
- Ahma d Amin Dalimunte, M.Hum, Indonesia
Investigating the Difficulties Faced in Understanding, and Strategies Used in
Processing, English Idioms by the Libyan Students
- Noura Winis Ibrahim Saleh & Dr. Moha mmed Hassan Zakaria ,
Malaysia
MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning): A Paradise for English Language
Learners
- Dr. Suneetha Yedla, India
Metaphors about EFL Teachers' Roles: A Case of Iranian Non-English-Major
Students
- Mohsen Akbari, Iran
Mother Tongue Influence : A Thorn in the Flesh of Technocrats in the Global
Market
- Dr. S. Mohan, India
Teaching Creative Thinking Skills
- Dr. Nagamurali Eragamreddy, Libya
The Importance of a Dystopia n Hero in Sara Gruens Water for Elephants
Bassmah Bassam Khaled AlTaher, Jordan
The Leverage of a Proposed Post Process Writing Approach Program on
Developing the EFL Al-Azhar Secondary Students' Writing Skills
- Ismail Ibrahim Elshirbini Abdel-Fattah El-Ashri, Egypt
The Translator's Agency and the Ideological Manipulation in Translation: the
Case of Political Texts in Translation Classrooms in Iran
- Katayoon Afzali , Iran
The Use of Photo-Elicitation Interview in Sociolinguistics: The Case Study of
Awareness about the Use of Borrowings in Tlemcen Speech Community Algeria
- Mrs. Rahmoun-Mrabet Razzia, Alger ia
Uncertainty and Uncertainty Management: the Metacognitive State of ProblemSolving of Professional (experienced) Translators and Students of Translation
Studies
- Zahra Amirian & Moha mad J. Baghiat, Iran
Using Native Language in ESL Classroom
- Dr. Isa SPAHIU, Macedonia

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Page
Number
03
04-08

09-23

24-37

38-49

50-65

66-72

73-82

83-90

91-105
106-119
120-141

142-151

152-161

162-175

176-179

International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460

English Language Teaching and Learning during Holiday Camps: A Case Study
from Malaysia
Dr. Ria Hanewald,
CfBT Education Trust, Malaysia
Abstract
Language ho liday camps for children or adolescents who are learners of a second or
addit ional language are a world-wide pheno menon. They are part icularly popular in the USA,
Canada and Britain for languages such as French, German and Spanish. Youth camps (also
called summer camps) during the European school ho lidays to learn English or other
languages have also enjo yed a lo ng tradition. In Malaysia, English language ho liday camps
are prolific and have been running since the 1940s. With such popularit y that these camps
enjo y the world over, the subject is co ming under research. In line with such researches, the
present study covers a four day lo ng resident ial English language ho liday camp in Malaysia
for 31 female students (aged 16) during May 2013. Its aim was to identify act ivit ies that
actively engage learners and increase their attitudes posit ively in regards to learning English.
The paper is intended to stimulate further research into extra-curricular activit ies, specifically
English language ho liday camps due to their glo bal abundance, to build a corpus of literature
in order to fill the current vacuum, and to gather empirical data on the value of such camps.
The findings o f the focused study have broad relevance internationally due to the significant
numbers of language camps around the world and will contribute to the scant y knowledge
currently available on this topic. It is ant icipated that the issues discussed in this paper will be
useful for students, teachers, researchers, polic y makers and pract itioners of English language
studies alike.
Keywords: ho liday camps, English language, attitudes, adolescents, Malaysia

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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


1. Introduction
1.1 Historical perspective
Residential camps for children and adolescents have been in existence for almost 140
years. In 1876, Swiss Pastor Hermann Walter Bio n organized a ho liday camp for a group of
68 underprivileged children fro m the Swiss cit y of Zrich. It afforded them so me t ime away
fro m their o ften crowded, poor and unhygienic homes to spend their school ho lidays in the
clean air of the Appenzeller country side while engaging in recreat ional act ivit ies for example
hiking, singing, dramat ic performances, adventures games and kite making. The success o f
the init ial camp led to a larger cohort of campers the fo llowing year. It grew to 3,500
youngsters by 1899, hailing fro m 29 different cit ies in Switzerland. Before lo ng, the idea o f
ho liday camps spread around Europe and to the USA, South America and Asia (MOTIF,
2008) .
In the United Kingdo m, camps are attributed to Lord Baden Bowell, who founded the
Boys Scouts in 1908 and introduced camps with outdoor activit ies for children. The number
of annual summer camps in England increased exponent ially after the end of World War II.
The Brit ish training o f educators during the 1940s established the idea of ho liday camps for
children and teenagers in Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia (Pulliam, 2013).
1.2 The global context
Camps are held eit her on weekends or during the school ho lidays and offer supervised
programs for youngsters. Day camps are usually offered for younger children so that the
participants (also called campers) can go ho me every night to sleep. Resident ial camps are
frequently designed for older children or adolescents as they include one or more overnight
stays. Camps are co mmo nly focused on either recreational act ivit ies in the areas o f sport,
music, performing arts; enrichment pursuits such as cooking, yoga, photography, co mic book
design; or educational development concentrating on co mputer/techno logy or second/
addit ional languages classes. In recent years, weight loss camps, bible camps and Tech camps
(with 3D Game creation, robot building, and web design) have been also advertised.
Establishments o ffering camps can be divided into non-profit organizat ions, charit ies
and co mmercial providers. Examples of the first are religious groups, girl or boy scouts, and
youth music organizat ions. The latter are wide-spread in the USA. The American National
Camp Association (NCA) reported nearly 10,000 camps during 2013 wit h the majorit y (60%)
being residential (also called sleep-away) camps. Each year, over six millio n youngsters
attend camps at the average cost of U$ 2,500 for a four weeks stay (NCA, 2013).
The Brit ish Act ivit y Providers Associat ion (BAPA), who sets the standard for qualit y safet y
and value for act ivit y centers, residential and day camps for private sector providers
acknowledges copious annual summer camps wit h large number o f youngsters attending but
has no statistics on these. However, more than twent y camp providers are listed, some wit h
up to 130 person capacit y and others wit h a history o f running camps for more than 30 years
giving an indicat ion o f the scale o f operations (BAPA, 2013). Likewise, the European
Camping Associat ion established in September 2003 with the member countries o f Bulgaria,
Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Ro mania, Russia and Ukraine aims to enhance the qualit y
of camps by establishing standards in services and programs but has no statist ics on the
number of youngster attending (Pulliam, 2013).
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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


The literature on language camps is limited to descript ive reports that date back 30 years
ago such as covering the act ivit ies, schedule, staffing, fees and special events (Trujillo, 1982;
Vines, 1983); public it y materials and vo lunteer forms (Griswo ld, 1989) or a sample syllabus,
proposed budget, teacher packet and schedule (Shrum, 1983, 1985).
The only empirical data available was published by the American Camp Association
(2010) and consists of a 12 quest ion survey administered to 228 camps across the United
States. The top reasons for running a camp were given as revenue raising (55%) and keeping
young people engaged throughout the year (43%). Overnight camps (80%) were the
dominant form, wit h two and three days stay (51 %) fo llowed by a half or full day stay (47
%). Campers were most ly fro m middle school (88 %) while the top activit ies in this English
speaking nation focused on Environmental sciences (75 %), General Sciences (51%), and
Bio logy (47%). While a third of the camps indicated that they linked their lessons to learning
standards fro m the main stream syllabus, almo st a quarter did not assess the learning
outcomes. Hence, what learning really occurred as part of the camp is not known to almost
half (40 %) of the staff (American Camp Association, 2010).
The outlined literature above shows the proliferation of camps, the size o f this industry,
the significant number of young people and educators engaged in these as well as the
considerable amount of time spent in camps. It also clearly demo nstrates the lack of empirical
data on any aspects of the camps (qualit y of teaching and learning environment, curriculu m
and materials evaluat ion, assessment of learning outcomes). It is therefore argued that the
current capacit y o f camps - and specifically Englis h language camps - should be o f interest to
students, teachers, researchers, po licy makers and practit ioners o f English language studies.
Furthermore, it is hypothesized that globalizat ion will lead to an increase in demand for
English language camps and it would be advisable for the various stakeho lders to harness this
potential as it emerges.
1.3 The local context
Malays ia is located in the Southeast Asian region, wit h a populat ion o f 28.3 millio n, of
which 1.6 millio n live in its capital Kuala Lumpur (Department of Statistics, Malaysia, 2013).
It is a mult i-lingual, mult i-ethnic and mult i-religious country wit h three major groups:
Muslim Malay (67.4%) who speak Bahasa Melayu, Chinese Buddhists (24.6%) who speak
Cantonese, Mandarin and other dialects as well as Indian Hindus (7.3%) who speak Tamil or
related dialects (UNESCO, 2011). English was int roduced and served as the official language
under the Brit ish government unt il 1957, when Malaysia achieved Independence. Bahasa
Malaysia (also referred to as Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Malay) became the nat ional language,
with a course o f language cult ivat ion perused by the Malaysian government for over 40
years. Increasing globalizat ion and the need to communicate with global market for business,
trade, tourism and more recent ly education has given English increased importance. It led to
the Malays ian governments decisio n to establish English as a co mpulsory subject in primary
and secondary schools (Gill, 2005).
The English language has been historically associated with Brit ish Imperialism in
Malaysia. Internat ionalizat ion co mbined with the status of English as a lingua franca for the
world changed attitudes amongst the populat ion. Another issue is social harmony as mult ilingual Malaysia ho lds 137 living languages (indigenous language such as Iban, Kadazan and
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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


Dusunic) and English serves as a co mmo n one, which underpins the countrys aspiration for
nat ional unit y.
The development of English language ho liday camps in Malaysia can be traced back to
the late 1940s due to the Brit ish training of educators (Pulliam, 2005). The ho liday camp
tradition for children and teenagers survived into present times despite the 1957
Independence o f the Brit ish. Oral accounts of adult Malaysians recall fo nd memories o f
attending ho liday camps as children during the late 1980s (R. Hanewald, persona l
conversation, May, 29, 2013).
This assert ion is further strengthened by various reports in the mass media such as an
English Language Immersion Camp for 80 students (Embassy of the United States, 2010); a
facebook site with photos of a 30-day English camp in Kuala Lumpur (PD & U Academy,
2012); a Fulbright English Teaching Assistants photos of a camp, which he helped to run
(Pan, 2013); a camp schedule by KDU Co llege in Penang, Malaysia (KDU, 2013) and severa l
clips on YouTube about various English Language camp experiences. The evidence shows
that substantial numbers o f English language camps by various organizat ions have been
taking place for decades in Malaysia. Despite this sizeable invo lvement, there is no data
available on the quant it y or qualit y of English language camps.
In an effort to fill this vo id, this act ion research was conducted to ident ify effect iveness o f
such camps in teaching English and providing enjo yment for the participants wit hin the
context of a Malays ian school ho liday camp.
2. The Action Research Project
In planning the English language camp, the age, gender, nat ionalit y, religious beliefs,
geographical locat ion and language level of the learner have to be considered (Tomlinso n,
1998). In this case, the campers were a ho mogenous group: all 16 years o ld female Muslim
Malays fro m a rural area in the northeast of Malaysia.
2.1 The participants
The four day resident ial English Language Camp was held fro m 27th May to 30th May
2013 with 31 Muslim Malay students in Form 4 (16 years old) under the leadership o f one
English language educator. This part icular age group was selected as they had already settled
into their secondary schools (during Fro m 1 to Form 3) and thus were ready for a challenge
but not yet in their final year (Form 5) which might distract them fro m their exam
preparations.
The all female campers came from a pool of about 20 rural schools in a northeastern state
of Malaysia. The camp package included transportation, hostel acco mmodat ion wit h six
meals per day and an excursio n to the hot springs. Due to English being a co mpulsory subject
in primary and secondary schools, it was assumed that their language skills were at a
reasonably high level. However, English language proficiency levels o f students in rural areas
are typically lower than those of students living in urban areas as exposure to (native) English
speakers and media or events (newspapers, movies at the cinema, theatre productions,
concerts) are fewer.
The camp took place at a resident ial school with a modern campus that has excellent
facilit ies. The high qualit y learning environment included a designated (air-condit ioned)
language room wit h ample resources, an extensive library wit h a large English language
collect ion as well as a co mputer laboratory containing 30 desktops. Most activit ies of the
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English learning and teaching co mponent were held in the language room, with the exception
of the Informat ion and Co mmunicat ion Techno logy (ICT), which was held in the co mputer
lab o f the library. There was also a recreational component, which consisted o f an excursion
to the hot springs for bathing.
In conceptualizing the camp structure, schedule, recreational and English language
program a number of cultural, linguist ic and social-emotional considerat ions had to be taken
into account for all Muslim Malay campers. For example, it was decided that a single gender
cohort would be easier to supervise due to the overnight stays in strict ly segregated Muslim
dormitories and the reluctance o f many students to participate in mixed gender teams wit hin a
classroom. The five daily Muslim prayer t imes and the six associated meal t imes (provided at
the resident ial schools dining hall) were the corner stone for the daily schedule around which
the English language program had to be constructed. Although the camp ran fro m 8 AM to 10
PM, the total amount of English learning added up to only 14 hours; the remaining time was
allocated for five daily prayers, six daily meals, daily afternoon rest and an excursio n.
2.2 English language learning activities
In designing activit ies and creat ing the camp program, Tomlinsons advice that
materials can achieve impact through novelt y, variety, attractive presentation, and
appealing content (1998, P:7) was taken into consideration. Hence, educat ional games, art
and craft activit ies, quizzes, songs, music, dramatic performances, puppet plays and ICT
sessions were devised. This range offered a variet y of texts and classroom management
cho ices while drawing on subject areas such as the Arts, Computer Techno logy and Physical
Education. Such an act ivit y-based organizat ion principle has as it s main advantage that
individual sessio ns are like building blocks. A modular approach enables greater flexibilit y as
units can be selected to fit the students needs, interest and energy level. Activit ies can be
changed every day to ensure variet y as well as a balance between artist ic, intellectual,
physical and recreat ional act ivit ies. Given that the English language instructor was unfamiliar
with the students, their abilit y levels, learning styles and preferences, it seemed the most
sensible tactic.
In the light of the fact that only 14 hours of English language exposure were available, it
was unrealist ic to expect huge improvements in the students proficiency levels, especially
since these were unknown in the first place. Therefore, the goal was to raise students
mot ivat ion to learn English by providing them wit h pleasurable experiences in the language.
It was hypothesized that a range of fun act ivit ies would nurture posit ive attitudes towards
English and an interest in continuing to pursue it. The central idea of the program was
therefore enjo yment and engagement. It was further reasoned that without the fun element,
the ho liday camp would replicate a normal school week. It was speculated that it would be
highly likely that this may cause resentment, boredom and frustration in the students who in
turn may refuse any invo lvement in future English language camps. Furthermore, the
students may not have self-selected for the camp but may have been forced to attend by their
parents or school, causing them to be unenthusiast ic and uninterested as they might have been
coerced to spend their holidays with extra lessons while their peers are travelling or relaxing.
2.3 Research questions
Since the focus o f the English language camp was on increasing learners motivation, interest
and enjo yment of English, the research aims focused on finding act ivit ies that would enable
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this most effect ively. The central research problem was to explore the relat ionship between
learner participat ion, satisfact ion, motivat ion and types of activit ies. Specifically:
What is the most effect ive camp structure to ensure students satisfaction?
What are the types o f activit ies that encourage students and act ively engage them?
What are the types o f activit ies that interest students most during English camp?
How satisfied are students with the various aspects of the camp?
2.4 Data collection
For this action research project, a mixed-method approach was emplo yed, consist ing of
pre-and post camp quest ionnaires, observations, visuals and individual interviews of campers.
The quest ionnaire used a five-po int Likert-scale for most questions, and a cho ice o f
yes/maybe/no as well as indicat ion of frequency for the remaining question. The language
for the quest ionnaire was kept simple in terms o f length, structure and sentence co mplexit y.
Campers were asked to tick the box that was closest to their feelings on the range o f
strongly dislike to strongly like. It was based on the notion that the part icipants were
learners o f English, teenagers (and not adults) and may lack previous experience wit h this
type o f questioning due to cultural norms in Muslim Mala y rural co mmunit ies. Each o f the
Likert-scale quest ion questions had an extra line (named others) to include a short
explanatory sentence if desired. However, it was hypothesized that this would most likely be
kept blank or perhaps filled wit h a co mpliment due to the Muslim Malays culture of nonconfrontation. Reluctance o f English learners to write freely may also be based on fear o f
spelling mistake, hence open-ended quest ions and free co mmentary were seen as inefficient
and therefore kept to a minimum on the quest ionnaire. A number of noted observations,
visuals (still images) and individual interviews were gathered in situ.
At the beginning o f the camp, the pre-questionnaire was given to all students with
instructions to leave o ff their names to ensure anonymit y, which afforded them the freedo m
to answer uninhibited. The purpose of this pre-questionnaire was to establish previous camp
experience, reasons for attending, perceived English proficiency and preferences for
activit ies. The post-camp questionnaire aimed to gauge students satisfact ion rates and
reflect ions on their English language attitudes in terms of enjo yment, interest and mot ivat ion.
The co mpleted pre-and post-camp quest ionnaires were then co mpared to detect and measure
any differences.
3. Findings and Discussion
This sect ion deals mainly wit h the examinat ion and discussio n of the findings fro m the
pre-and post camp quest ionnaire. Then, a comparison between the two sets of data was drawn
and the difference deliberated in terms of its significance.
3.1 Pre-camp questionnaire
The main goal for the pre-camp quest ionnaire was to seek insights about the learners
previous experience of camps, differentiated into English language and other subject areas.
Since the literature search had found evidence of English language camps in the form of
photos, videos and a media release on websites, Facebook and YouTube that revealed
substant ial act ivit y in this fie ld, it was hypothesized that the students have had so me prior
invo lvement with camps. Therefore, the first question o f the pre-camp survey aimed to
explore if and how often the learners had been to camp (see Table 1).
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Table 1 Pre-camp Question to Elicit Prior Camp Experience of the May 2013 Camp Cohort
How often do you go to Never 1-2 before
camp?
before
English language camp 8
13
Sport, Art, Music, Science 1
13
camp
Why? Wh y not?

3-4 before

more than 5

4
4

3
3

Note: Some part icipants did not respond


The responses (n=31) were unexpected as their answers showed that the majorit y (60 %)
of the cohort (29 out of 31) had been to one or two previous English language camps. One
camper had been to at least three English language camps, averaging one camp per year o f
secondary school attendance, which makes this an annual event for the learner. Eight campers
indicated that they had never been to an English language camp before, although they ma y
have previously been to a Sport, Art, Music or Science camp as twent y learners indicated.
Three campers had been to five or more camps, which was considerable and averaged to
more than one camp per year during their secondary schooling. The interpretation o f this data
is made so mewhat challenging due to learner mis sing reply, wit h two answers omitted on the
English language camp experience and ten absent for the other subject area camps.
Two comments in the why and Why not line were I dont know and Because I dont
know, interpreted as no prior awareness or knowledge that camps and an opportunit y to
participate in them exist, which might explain why eight campers had not been to any
previous camps. However, the majorit y of campers previous experience shone through
during the four days, as they quickly and smoothly adjusted to the hostel accommodation,
layout of the campus, English language program, prayer and meals routine, instructor and
group dynamics.
The second pre-camp survey question (Table 2) aimed to unearth the mot ivat ion for
attending this particular camp (own, parents or schools cho ice, academic or social purpose
for attending, and rating of own perceived English skills).
Table 2 Pre-Camp Question to Elicit Motivation for Attending the May 2013 Camp
Why did you come to camp
My parents said I should go
My school/teacher
said I should go
My English is poor
and I want to improve
Holidays are boring
and I want something to do
I just want to have fun
and meet new people

Strongly
disagree
6
3

disagree Ok

Strongly
agree
8
11

Agree

0
3

12
8

4
3

10

18

13

14

Note: Some part icipants did not respond to each statement


Almost a third o f the campers (12 out of 31) indicated that their parents sent them to
camp, whereas six decided for themselves that they wanted to attend. Twelve learners seemed
to be at camp due to a mutual decisio n between their parents and themselves as they t icked
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ok. This interpretation of the data in Table 2 was confirmed by fo llow-up interviews with
individuals, who stated that they discussed and joint ly decided the issue wit h their parents.
The influence o f the school or teacher was acknowledged by a third o f the campers (14 out of
31). The entertainment, recreational and social aspects of the camp rated highly, as the
majorit y (19 out of 31) campers were looking for something constructively to do during their
ho lidays, which were perceived as boring. The fo llow-up interviews with individuals
revealed that they would usually eit her watch TV all the day or be invo lved in do ing chores
such as .cook the foodclean the housewash the clothes. help my grandparents pick
the fruit. Since the participants all came fro m a rural area of Malaysia wit h little or no public
transport, recreational facilit ies (i.e. sporting venues, public libraries) and entertainment
options (i.e. museums, theatres, cinemas), the optio n of attending a camp may have seemed
like an attractive alternative. Socializing with peers was valued by eleven (n=31) campers,
while two campers did not value it at all. The driving force to attend the camp seems to be a
self-percept ion of poor English language skills and a desire to improve their proficiency by
most of the attendees (28 out of 31), with only one learner disagreeing.
The next question explored the campers favorite activit ies ( Table 3) to tailor the camp
program to their needs, interests and preferences, which would have been possible wit h very
short notice due to the modular plan that allowed great flexibilit y in reshuffling, addit ions or
omissio ns of act ivit ies.
Table 3 Pre-Camp Questions to Elicit Preferred Activities for the May 2013 Camp
What activities do you
want to do?
Brainteasers/ Crosswords
Songs/Music
Poems, Stories, Jokes
Art and Craft
Cultural/ drama night
Quiz session
Visit to the Hot Springs
Physical Education
Certificates giving
Others:

Strongly
Disagree
4
4
2
2
0
0
0
0

Disagree

Ok

Agree

0
1
4

12
9
9

8
7
10

Strongly
agree
6
9
5

6
1
0
1
2

9
12
0
10
3

6
12
5
16
12

5
4
25
4
13

Note: Some part icipants did not respond to each statement


In ascertaining preferred activit ies in the Table 3 campers (30 out of 31)
unequivocally determined a visit to the Hot Springs as the most desired act ivit y. Fo llow-up
interviews revealed that six campers had never been to a Hot Spring and only three campers
could actually swim. The Hot Springs visit was preceded by a preparat ion sessio n, which
included a power point presentation of the facilit ies, a map o f the venue, which was used to
practice directions (i.e. north, south, to the left, right) and prepositions (i.e. near, next to,
behind, in front, between). Informat ion on the health benefit s o f the Hot Spring waters and
some reviews fro m Trip advisor were made available fro m the Internet, as well as so me trivia
like the setting of an egg bo iling record, which occurred there.
As expected due to the cultural tradit ions, certificate giving was desired by two thirds o f the
campers (25 out of 31), with only two campers not valuing them. Physical Education rated
highly (20 out of 31), as did a quiz sessio n (16 out of 31), songs/music (16 out of 31), poems,
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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


stories and jokes, art and craft (15 out of 31), brainteasers/crossword puzzles (14 out of 31)
and a cultural/ drama night (11 out of 31). This init ial pre-camp wish list was later
compared to the actual post-camp evaluat ion of these act ivit ies to gauge the difference
between expectation and actual experience. The final question (in Table 4) dealt wit h the
English language attitudes of the campers.
Table 4 Pre-Camp Questions to Elicit English Language Attitudes of the May 2013 Campers
How do you rate
Strongly
your current skills?
Disagree
I feel confident speaking
4
English in public
I enjoy socializing in English
0
I am not afraid of making
1
mistakes in English
I enjoy watching English
0
programs and movies
I feel confident speaking
0
with native English speakers
I am aware of m y strength and0
weaknesses as a user of English
I am highly motivated to
0
improve my English
Others:

Disagree

Ok

Agree

Strongly
Agree
0

18

0
6

15
13

11
7

2
2

12

18

13

11

10

1
0

Note: Some part icipants did not respond to each statement


Seventeen (out of 31) campers were highly motivated to improve their English,
perhaps in the light of the fact that they were approaching their final year o f secondary school
soon and thus facing examinat ions. The self-rating of poor English in pre-camp question 2
(of Table 4) combined with their self-cho ice o f attending underpins this hypothesis. Campers
confidence of speaking English in public (3 out of 31) and with nat ive speakers (8 out of 31)
was low, whereas enjo yment of English programs and movies (14 out of 31) and socializing
in English (13 out of 31) rated much higher, with half of the cohort responding posit ively.
Almost a third of campers were experiencing fear of making mistakes in English (9 out of 31)
which may inhibit speech and written production and in turn hinder progress in acquiring the
language. Half the campers in the cohort (15 out of 31) were aware o f their strength and
weaknesses in English. The gathered data at the beginning o f the camp showed that a
supportive, fun environment needed to be created that would encourage risk taking in using
English while acknowledging learners efforts to strengthen their confidence and enjo yment
of using the English language.
3.2 Actual camp program
The modules aimed to incorporate the four macro-skills (listening, speaking, reading and
writing) while traversing various subject areas to provide a variety o f fun act ivit ies, listed
here by subject category wit h a short explanatory statement:
3.2.1 Music/songs: three pop songs as part of a listening co mprehensio n task, a battle of
the cho irs in groups of seven to eight students in each that chose a known song or wrote an
original song and performed it, and a ukulele sing-along for the who le cohort to finish o ff the
module

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3.2.2 Drama: props made by campers as well as a story and dialogues written and then
performed as puppet play in groups of four students
3.2.3 Brainteasers/crossword puzzles: a variety o f crosswords, trellises, first and last
activit ies, word searches and alphabet soups for individual students, finished o ff wit h a
challenge to design a brainteaser or crossword themselves in eit her pairs or trios.
3.2.4 Social night: a birthday celebrat ion for one camper and games in pairs or small
teams such as Scrabble, Whos who?, Hangman, Battleship, Snap and Celebrit y ident it y.
3.2.5 ICT sessions: individual creat ion of a greeting card to family or friends wit h padlet
(http://padlet.com/), the production of a comic with Toon Doon (http://www.toondoo.com/)
3.2.6 Excursion: power point presentation of the Hot Springs, reading o f a map and
giving direct ions, research on the healt h benefits of the water, reviews fro m Trip advisor
3.2.7 Jokes/ stories/poems: reading and re-telling o f prepared quest ion and answer
jokes in pairs or small groups, individual reading of a variet y o f texts and use o f the reading
laboratory
3.2.8 Art and craft: reading of instructions for egg decorating, origami, greeting cards
3.2.9 Quiz sessio n: individual, pair, trio or small grouping to answer quiz questions in
writing
3.3 Post-camp questionnaire
The first question after the camp, that is as part of the post-camp quest ionnaire was trying to
gauge the campers overall sat isfact ion, indicat ive of an expressed desire to participate in
another camp. The post-camp quest ionnaire was administered to only 30 campers, as one
camper fell ill and thus was unable to participate.
Table 5 Post-Camp Question to Elicit Satisfaction with the May 2013 Camp
Would you like to go to another camp?
English language camp
Sport, Art, Music, Science camp

Yes
26
21

Maybe
2
7

No
0
0

Note: Some part icipants did not respond to each statement


The overwhelming majorit y (26 out of 30) of campers would attend another English
language camp, which seemed to imply high satisfact ion wit h the experience. Twent y-one
other campers were interested in participat ing in a camp wit h another focus.
The second question o f the post-camp survey rated the food, the activit ies, the peers, the
instructor as well as improvements in t he campers English skills and confidence in using
English. The average scores were as displayed in Table 6 below:
Table 6 Rating of Food, Peers, Instructor, English improvement and Confidence Post-camp
What do you think?
The food was great
The other students were great
The teacher was great
The activities were great
The camp improved my English skills
The camp improved my confidence in using English

Average score out of 5


3. 6
3. 9
4. 7
4.3
3.6
4. 3

While the food received the lowest score (3.6), the instructor received the highest (4.7).
There was also high sat isfact ion with the fellow campers (3.9) and the overall activit ies (4.3).
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In terms of English language skills improvement, the average score (3.6) reflected the short
duration of learning opportunit ies which amounted to a total of 14 hours. The other factor
may have been the high ratio (1:31) of instructor to students. A smaller group of perhaps 20
students may have yielded better results on that score. However, campers confidence in
using English was self-rated rather high (4.3).
The next quest ion aimed to ascertain sat isfact ion with specific act ivit ies, wit h averages
displayed in Table 7 below:
Table 7 Post-camp Rating of Individual Activities for the May 2013 Camp
Which activities were most enjoya ble?
Brainteasers, crossword puzzles
Songs/Music
Poems, Stories, Jokes, Art and Craft
Cultural/drama night
Quiz session
Visit to the Hot Springs
Certificate giving

Average score
4. 4
4. 7
4. 2
4. 4
4. 1
4. 9
4. 4

Overall, the visit to the Hot Springs received the highest score (4.9 out of 5), fo llowed by
music/ songs (4.7 out of 5). These were fo llowed in equal places by the cultural/ drama night
with the puppet show, the brainteasers/crosswords and the certificate giving (4.4 out of 5).
The poems, stories, jokes and art, craft (4.2 out of 5) and quiz sessio n (4.1 out of 5) also
received high scores.
The post-camps fina l quest ion (No 4) was ident ical to the pre-camp survey. For ease of
comparison, the pre-and post-camp averages as well as the difference are shown in Table 8
below:
Table 8 Post-camp Rating of Campers Attitudes Towards English for the May 2013 Camp
_____________________________________________________________________
What do you think?
I am highly motivated to improve m y English
I feel confident speaking English in public
I enjoy socializing in English
I am not afraid of making mistakes in English

3. 6
2. 7
3. 6

Before Camp
4. 1
3. 7
3. 5
4. 4

After Camp Difference


+ 0. 5
+ 1.0
3. 7
+ 0.2
+ 0.8

Campers confidence, enjo yment and mot ivat ion increased posit ively during the four day
camp. The most significant increase was on confidence gained in speaking English in public,
which showed an average of 2.7 in the pre-camp questionnaire but had increased to 3.7 on the
post-camp quest ionnaire. Equally impressive was the gain in students mot ivat ion, which
scored an average of 3.6 before the camp and 4.1 after the camp.
Alt hough the total English language teaching and learning opportunit ies amounted to
only 14 hours, the measurable improvements in the participants attitude towards English was
a most pleasing result. It is hypothesized that a smaller instructor/ student ratio instead of the
1:30 ratio for this camp will produce even better results as more individuals will receive
greater attention and more teaching input.

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A line at the bottom o f the post-camp quest ionnaire was tit led Any other comments?
and elicited the fo llowing replies repeated verbatim (inclusive of spelling and grammat ical
errors): No, This camp is very enjo y!, Awsome, do more physical act ivit ies, thank
you for teach me in the english, I want jo in this camp next time, may be no, haha, I
hope this camp will keep going year to year to improve English amo ng students, more
physical act ivit ies like jungle trekking, flying fox, bungee jumping, etc, I love this camp,
have improvement skill camp and I like to do the brain teasers and so mething that can
challenge my brain.
4. Limitations and Future Research Direction
The greatest limitat ion was the dual roles o f the camp instructor and researcher. A large
group (31 campers) and a long day (from 8 AM to 10 PM) made the running o f the camp a
challenge. The data collect ion was therefore largely limited to the pre-and post questionnaire.
Some opportunit ies for observat ional notes and still images occurred in situ. Individual
interviews with campers were held during the six daily meal breaks on an ad hoc basis. A
designated research assistant or a smaller group size (instead of the 31 teenagers in
attendance) would have yielded more qualitat ive data due to the availabilit y o f time to peruse
the data collection process in a systemat ic and more thorough way.
Given the length o f the camp, it may have also been more advantageous to ask for feedback
after each sessio n to give an accurate first impressio n and then fo llow this up wit h an end o f
camp overall evaluation by the campers.
At this po int in t ime, another camp is planned for November 2013 alo ngside a further round
of data co llect ion. It will provide opportunity for the improvement of professio nal pract ice
and the continuation o f the act ion research as well as further publicat ion to disseminate the
knowledge to stakeholders in the field.
English language camps are a field o f research in its infancy and it is hoped that others will
fo llo w suit and start invest igat ing this under researched area to close the vacuum o f
knowledge.
5. Conclusion
Language camps and particularly English language camps for youngsters are a worldwide pheno menon. In Malaysia, the latter are prolific and have been running for decades.
However, apart fro m a few still and mo ving images on Facebook and YouTube, the
occasional press release or news paper report and so me over thirt y year o ld descript ions of
camps there is no evidence of their existence in the literature. The only except ion is a set of
statist ics generated by the American Camp Association during 2010.
The apparent popularit y o f language camps the world over and their enormous potential in
terms o f teaching and learning is in stark contrast to the silence in the academic co mmunit y
on that topic. It is hoped that the action research of this English language ho liday camp
during May 2013 triggered an interest in readers to peruse their own research in this area. The
paper has aimed to overcome the silence on language camps in the academic communit y and
may serve as a starting point to build a corpus of empirical data. The author believes that
literature on language camps is sorely needed and would benefit students, parents, educators,
researchers and po licy makers.

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About the Author:
Dr Ria Hanewald is a teacher mentor for CfBT Education Trust, currently on assignment in
Malaysia. She has wide experience of teaching English as a foreign language, professio nal
English and curriculum designing. She provides professio nal learning and curriculum support
for English language teachers, conducts regular English conversat ion classes for
administrative school staff and runs English language ho liday camps for secondary school
students.
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