(1) "Wild English" summer school
English language lessons for people interested in nature
"Wild English": English language course for adults.
Theme: The natural world.
Place: An island on the west coast of Scotland.
Time: Between April and October.
How much: £800 per week including accommodation.
Lessons: 25 hours per week, Monday-Friday.
Max class size: 1 teacher to 8 students.
Learn because you love it
Motivation is essential for learning. If you enjoy your English course, you'll learn faster, you will learn more, and you will remember it longer.
Language is for communication. An English teacher's main task is to motivate people to communicate in English. That means finding lesson themes that interest everybody on the course.
Typical lesson themes on the Wild English course are How to Watch Seals, What do Insects Do?, Identifying Broadleaf Trees, Animal Camouflage, Sand Invertebrates, etc.
The Wild English course
The Wild English course is for everybody who likes nature and the beach.
You will walk in wild places, identify butterflies and discuss their secret lives, catch rotifers, and photograph plants. Maybe you live in a big city and have never seen a wild animal; maybe you're a professional naturalist. Everybody is welcome!
40% of our lessons happen on the beach or in the forest, where we do "citizen science" projects in a superb natural environment.
But it's not all walking around in the fresh air. It's an intensive English course, like the courses I've done for executives from Hitachi, HSBC, Renault, General Electric, EDF and so on. Back in the classroom, you will plan for a "citizen science" project, do a health & safety assessment, and create a web page. We also do traditional lessons on English grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and writing.
The Wild English summer school is different
In or out of the classroom, all our lessons and activities are real, practical and useful. When we have a discussion, it's relevant: "What's the best way to organise our beach survey project?" or "When is it worth saving a species if their habitat has disappeared?"
We don't do the unreal classroom activities of a typical language school. We don't do things like "Describe your family", "Tell your neighbour about your last holiday", "Write a class newspaper", "Present an imaginary product" or "Role play a job interview."
We do real tasks like these, which are highly motivating. Everybody wants to understand what to do, everybody wants to communicate, and in the evening people still want to discuss the day's activities.
With real communication, confidence comes quickly.
"English is about communication. There must be something the student really wants to say, and something they really want to know."
The central lesson at the Summer School is that you can communicate in English. If you use the wrong tense, but everybody understands you, it isn't a problem. The wrong preposition? No problem. The wrong word order? No problem; we still understand you! You will be too busy and interested to worry about perfect grammar. And by the end of the course, you will have the confidence to communicate in English.
By Day 4 we have relaxed, happy students.
By Day 7, everybody is confident they can communicate.
By Day 10, you'll enjoy using English.
You'll produce real environmental data for scientists and for the local community. Every day, you'll learn a '30-minute skill' and then share it with others. You'll make new contacts, leave with great memories, and probably come back next year.
- Environmental baseline survey (EBS) of beach transect.
- Headland survey of cetaceans.
- Square-metre survey of intertidal crustaceans and gastropods (barnacles and limpets)
- Make an Ocean Literacy web page about a local species.
- Visit a local nature reserve and collect data.
- And current projects of the Marine Biological Association, the Marine Conservation Society, Natural Scotland and Capturing Our Coast.
Examples of 30-minute skills. You learn them, then you teach them:
- Design and make the perfect salad.
- Make cheese scones.
- Make a Scottish speciality (cranachan, Cullen skink, rollmops, shortbread...)
- Use a rescue throwline.
- Sing a traditional song.
- Put on a First Aid bandage.
- Collect and cut wood for a fire - safely.
- Sharpen an axe.
- Calculate the height of a tree.
- Put a wildlife design on a T-shirt.
- Walk a slackline (don't worry, it's safe).
"For students of English, motivation + communication = confidence + competence."
Mull has five castles, eight pubs, three ferry ports, one abbey, one monastery, a marine aquarium, twenty-four very small villages, and no towns at all.
The capital of Mull is Tobermory (population 1,000), and we go there often. It's one of the prettiest small ports in Scotland, with brightly-coloured houses and shops. There's a fine natural harbour for fishing boats and the local lifeboat.
Tobermory has many restaurants, at prices to suit all budgets. It also has traditional pubs, a small supermarket, a bakery, a bookshop, a yacht chandlery and marina, and a small museum. There are excellent walks to the lighthouse in one direction and Aros Park in the other. Tobermory is the home of the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust. You can hire bicycles, and the Harbour Garage has some hire cars. There are several wildlife tour operators on land, and between April and October you can do a wildlife boat trip:
Accommodation on the island
The Wild English course is based in a small village. It's quiet, the air is clean, the food is excellent and so is the pub, the people are friendly, there is no crime and almost no traffic.
We recommend 'host family' accommodation in and near the village. You'll probably speak more English if you live as part of a local family. You will also understand English-speaking culture better. Culture is part of the language. At £150 per person per week for bed, breakfast and evening meals, host family accommodation is also good value.
You live as part of the family, including your own bedroom; breakfast on 7 mornings per week; 5 evening meals per week; bed linen, quilt and pillows; towels; daily showers or baths; laundry; wi-fi internet; charging of mobile phone and laptop batteries; and you can use the family sitting-room and perhaps the kitchen.
A host family room is likely to be quite small and facilities may be basic. Alternatives include guest houses, commercial bed-and-breakfast, luxury self-catering or a hotel instead of staying with a host family. See the Course Details page.
Travelling to the island
If you like the idea of a language course that's:
- Good for the environment
- Great for your English
...come and join us!
Find out more
Go to Wild English FAQs for answers to frequently-asked questions.
Go to Course Details to see prices, what's included and travel information.
Go to Terms & Conditions to read about deposits, cancellations and refunds.
Go to Booking Form to book your course.