Learning English during the summer: A comparison of two domestic programs for pre-adolescents
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Contexts that promote intensive L2 experiences (typically, stay abroad, immersion, etc.) are reported to facilitate language development; yet, little is known about such programs when they are addressed to school-age learners in their home country. The present study examines the experiences of learners aged 11-13 that participated in two domestic summer programs: a group of 58 learners on an overnight summer camp and a group of 47 learners at a language school. While the learners on both programs received English lessons on a daily basis, only those in the summer camp were exposed to English during non-language related activities. L2 development was assessed by administering three productive tasks and students’ experiences were recorded using questionnaires and via on-site observations. Our results indicate that the learners in both settings underwent significant L2 improvement in spite of the short duration of the two programs (three to four weeks). The results also highlight the challenge that domestic intensive programs face in seeking to maximize L2 use.