Ormiston Enterprise Academy travelled with Rayburn Tours to the Rhineland in June 2011, which for most of the students was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Upon our recommendation, the group decided to incorporate language tuition at the ISL Language School into their itinerary.
What made you decide to include language tuition in your itinerary?
It was something that we hadn’t previously considered, but when presented with the facts, and the hands on style of teaching that the school offered pupils, I knew it was the ideal inclusion for our trip. There was no doubt that the level my students were at in terms of using their languages meant that increasing their confidence to vocalise what they saw on paper was of significant importance – the language school offered the perfect solution to this.
Describe your students’ reactions to this style of teaching?
The language school and their teachers were exceptional; they were extremely skilled in increasing the confidence of all students involved. Their hands on approach meant that students were encouraged to believe that they would be fully understood and embraced in the community if they were to test their skills in the real world.
How were students encouraged to use their skills?
After classroom preparation, where students gained an in-depth knowledge of the area, the students set off in groups to embark on their town rally. A sense of competition and a desire to prove their skills, coupled with a touch of bravery, and before we knew it we were starting to gain a closer insight into what our students were really capable of.
Did you see any positive long term effects on your language students?
Yes, without a doubt. Students returned to the UK and their families with a renewed confidence, and an increased sense of understanding. They also had a greater belief that everything I had taught them prior to the trip was indeed correct and true!
Their commitment to their lessons has increased significantly – so much so, that around two thirds of the group will be choosing to study German at GCSE level. There is no doubt in my mind, or the students’ or parents’ minds, that the trip and the experiences provided by the language school played a big part in this.
If there was one recommendation you could make to other teachers considering leading a language tour, what would it be?
Choose an itinerary that is based on quality – the parents of my school support me greatly in the trips I organise. They see the evidence of my determination to provide students with the very best language learning opportunities; Rayburn Tours were absolutely right in their recommendations. The trips I run are commonly oversubscribed, with little need to advertise.