Early experiences in a career can go a long distance during decades of professional practice. With this in mind, our VenTESOL English Summer Camp left a transformative, long-lasting mark on a hundred VenTESOLers. 75 students of ESOL teacher training careers, along with 25 coordinators and experts, converged in Barrera, State of Carabobo, for a four days’ adventure where building communicative skills, developing as teachers and celebrating language and culture took Mansión La Faraona by storm. This English Summer Camp 2015, organized by VenTESOL, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Caracas and held from September 14th to 17th, gathered students and faculty from Carabobo University, UPEL - Barquisimeto Campus, and University of The Andes - Rafael Rangel Campus.
All the efforts made by our Coordinators, Mary Allegra, Alnaldo Rodríguez, Aura Cabello, Ernesto Lisboa, Johannes Rojas, Jurate Kukanauza, Miguel Pérez and Pedro Escalante, along with coordinators from universities, Abilio Mujica, Álvaro Jordán, José Franco, Rosaura Hernández and Zobeida Lucena came to fruition as competitions, games, workshops, recreational activities and peer bonding moments. Special guests Brigimar Landaeta, José Vásquez, Giovanna Allegra, Mary Andall and Sandra Botero added value to the English Summer Camp through their participation to different extents and in their respective fields of expertise.
Participants engaged in such activities and workshops as cowboy night, bull session, blindfolded jigsaw, US challenge, spooky night, and Pharaoh’s amazing race, all of which set the frame to see firsthand and then collaboratively use playful, communicative and constructivistic ELT strategies with the coordinators’ guidance. An overview of culture, values and lifestyles in English-speaking nations was given by Sandra Botero (USA), Mary Andall (Grenada) and Aura Cabello (UK). Campers had plenty of opportunities to reflect on and deliver results of the activities and workshops during daily insights, workshop demonstrations and the bonfire.
Our deepest gratitude goes to organizers, sponsors, universities and so many collaborators at a distance, Freddy Vanegas and Luis Jordan among others. This format of four days’ intensive instructional and recreational activities may be short in time, and the months of hard work on and preparation for this camp may usually go unnoticed. But the mid and long-term impact on these 75 campers, the personal and professional networking catalyzed, the thousands of students exposed to their teaching in the decades to come, as well as on our ELT community of practice and our nation, are well worth the effort VenTESOL makes to help shape generations of #TeachersHelpingTeachers.
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By Andrés Ramos, Editor, with report by Mary Allegra, President and Miguel Pérez, Communications Coordinator.
Photos: Veronica Acosta
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