WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO STUDY ENGLISH?
English is now the most widely used language in the world: it is spoken in several nations (UK, USA, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand…), it is the commonest second language taught in the schools, it is an official language of the European Union, many Commonwealth countries, the United Nations and many other world organisations (for example, the International Olympic Committee, the Nobel Prize…).
English is the international language of communications,science,information technology, business, seafaring, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy. Again magazines, movies, songs are often in English…. Moreover the instructions given in some appliances, gadgets, equipments, food labels and etc were written mostly in English.
So English is the modern “world language”. It is estimated that 375 million human beings speak English!
These are the reasons why boys and girls, women and men around the world spend a few weeks of their summer gaining more skills with the language in many schools were born in England (and elsewhere in Anglophone Areas): like the famous Language in Totnes.
LANGUAGE IN TOTNES
Built in the heart of the Devon countryside, the Totnes School has been teaching English from 30 years. It is composed by three special places: Kennicott House (Child learners Centre), Queens Terrace (Young Learners Centre) and the characteristic Gate House (Adult Learners Centre) in the High Street.
It is divided into different kinds of courses for students of all ages, from six years old onwards:
Play with English for the youngest, Junior General English and Intensive English for the teenagers, Work Experience, One-to-One, Cultural Experience… and so on for the adults!
Because you never stop to learning!
Some interesting data:
- Age range of students
6-11 (5%) 12-17 (95%)
18-30 (55%), 16-18 (25%), +30 (30%)
- Top 10 nationalities
(over 38 different nationalities)
Spain, Italy, Germany, Saudi Arabia,
Switzerland, France, Russia, Japan, Sweden,
(Montenegro, South Korea, Belgium)
- Number of students
50 (low season)
110 (high season)
What the Totnes School Staff think is that it is important to keep confidence -the key word- with the language!
The study planning, the excursions, the activities, the projects… are all designed for this purpose. There are generally four things to do with a foreign language: speak, listen, read and write. Of course it is important to study from books, but, sometimes, it is more fun and instructive to learn a language during a trip to Exeter or Plymouth, a yoga and massage lesson, a basketball game, a laboratory of art, a DVD or pub evenings…! Because to learn a language is to immerse yourself in the culture, traditions, in the life of its people! For this reason the best accommodation is the Host Family: where you can stay in touch with “the English Way of Life”! Speak more, get to know each other, try new foods etc!
Every day is a discovery!
And then the Totnes families live within walking distance of the school, so there’s no need for buses or train!
A very good experience!
All the staff are so kind and helpful as well as the Totnesians. Politeness and courtesy in the air…everywhere!
So it is true what the Blog of Language in Totnes says about the town and its residents: “Totnesians are a welcoming and friendly people who always have the time to stop and speak to you, giving you many great opportunities to learn about the different cultures in Totnes and to practise your English at the same time!”! Very smiling people!
Totnes is a nice town, described also as “the capital of new age chic” (The Time), full of history. The legend tells that it was founded by Brutus of Troy, the mythical founder of Britain –“Here I stand and here I rest. And this town shall be called Totnes”-, it was fortified by King Edward the Elder with a defensive ring of burhs built around Devon, with the Norman’s arrival was built the castle and during the 15th century it become the second richest town in Devon (thanks to the Dart river which crosses the town). In fact, now the town is famous as a centre for art, music and alternative living and has always been the home of artists and authors. The River Dart runs through Totnes providing a gateway to the coast and beautiful riverside walks to Dartington Hall and Gardens or Sharpham Vineyard. There are many little shops to visit in the High Street; every Tuesday there is the Elizabethan Market in the Market Square as well as a bustling Friday and Saturday Markets which attracts people from all over Devon! But it is also good explore the surrounding area, full of characteristic villages and towns!
I think that the school is well organized. This also explains why every year a lot of students choose Totnes as the “English destination”.
What impressed me are the staff’s familiarity and the transparency: even if it is your first day at school you can already feel an organization’s little member! Very important, especially for a foreigner like me!
In these four weeks I liked working in two different school, so I have a better understanding “the entire gear system” and I have known its “creators”: from Caroline and Nicola to Emily, Anthony, Daniel, Catrine, Steve and Margie (and the various Teachers and the Activity Leader)! I chatted a little bit with boys and girls, men and women from all over the world: Totnes can be called a small cosmopolitan center! That’s fantastic!
I would have liked to have participated in more activities and excursions, because they are well-structured. From what I understand by participating in the “Totnes Tour”, yoga and massage lesson, Art Workshop, pubs and DVD evenings and the two Sunday trips. As in all new experience there are always bad and good moments! It’s normal!
In fact, it’s commendable the great attention given to the students` welfare about their inclusion in the families, in the classes…
The most important question: and my English? Now it’s easier to understand what people said, on the contrary, it is still difficult to speak, but, of course, this takes time! I hope to return soon to England!
It was a pleasure working with you…
And with a hot cup of tea or coffee!
-The Language in Totnes English School in Devon
-Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia