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ESL on the slopes combines work with some play

<p>Learning English — or perfecting it — doesn’t need to be all work and no fun. The Banff Education Centre located in Canmore, Alta. blends fun and learning thanks to its ski and snowboard programs beginning this month.<br /></p>

Students can take part in winter sports



At the Banff Education Centre, students learning English can let off some steam by participating in activities such as snowboarding and skiing.





“(Students) have four credits that they can use however they like. If they want to study in class that’s fine. If they want to try exciting activities they can do that as well.”






Learning English — or perfecting it — doesn’t need to be all work and no fun. The Banff Education Centre located in Canmore, Alta. blends fun and learning thanks to its ski and snowboard programs beginning this month.


Students at the centre get to learn English and enjoy skiing and snowboarding activities at the same time, according Tomo Yamagata, activities program co-ordinator for the centre.


The programs target Canadians over the age of 18 who need to learn the language or simply improve their skills, she said.


It caters to all levels of English. “Some people who have a low-level English are going to start with a lower class. Students who can speak pretty good English, they can start really high,” she said.








The programs can last up to 15 weeks, and they involve 12 hours of mandatory English teaching each week. Students also have the opportunity to go down the slopes three times a week.


Students receive four credits for every week they spend at the centre.


They can exchange these extra credits for winter activities that are planned, like dogsledding.


“They have four credits that they can use however they like. If they want to study in class that’s fine. If they want to try exciting activities they can do that as well,” she said.


The centre can find a family with whom the student will live during his or her stay in Alberta.


“We have local house families here. So if they prefer to stay with local Canadian families in Canmore, they can do that. But they can try to find an apartment and try to live by themselves,” she said.


You may learn a whole lot from a stay at the centre, but the English electives that you take there are not recognized by postsecondary institutions, Yamagata said.


“I don’t think any college or university will count any courses from our school,” she said, “but we provide a certificate after the course so they show as a proof that they attended.”


 
 
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