|AHEAD Professional Network's List of Programs and Courses.|
I have only been blogging for about a year and I’ve spent seven years of writing for print. But believe me, I have never been that comfortable and confident with my English. Yes, English language sometimes becomes a problem when there are some ideas that I would want to convey but I simply do not know how. For instance, I’ve been thinking in Tagalog and what makes it doubly hard for me to translate it in English is when I try to translate it word per word. And when I was a kid, that's the only way to organize my thoughts.
I remember trembling in fear when I was asked by my teacher to speak in front of my third grade class. I was a transferee then from another school and it was the first day of classes so I was asked to introduce myself. I’m not really the shy type, but I didn’t know how to speak English well. I was afraid people would laugh at my carabao English or that I wouldn’t properly pronounce the words correctly. I could vividly recall that my knees wobbled as I tried my best to express myself in my not-so-fluent English.
Since I belonged to the cream section, majority of the students could carry on a very descent English conversation. English was the medium of instruction and it was mandatory for us to speak in English at ALL times within the vicinity of the campus, except during Filipino periods. Once caught speaking in the vernacular, you’d be given a fine of P2.00 per word. During that time, that’s a lot of money for a nine-year-old me. We either spoke in English or we spoke Tagalog. Mixing them up into Taglish was unacceptable. There were times when I would not have any snack for recess because I’ve no money left after having paid all my fines.
God knows how much I prayed so that my English teacher would not call on me to speak during our classes. I find it funny that I even tried to memorize the alphabet of the sign language so that I could communicate with my classmates without having to speak English. I could understand the language, but had never been confident in speaking English. I’d always say that I’d rather write than speak English. Why? With writing, I could always edit or eradicate whatever it is that I’ve written unlike with speaking, once uttered, you could never take it back. By the end of the school year, I received the “most behaved” award, not because I had been a good girl but simply because I had shut my mouth the entire third grade.
I later finally learned to speak English after I’ve learned to love reading books. Thanks to the patience of grandma who introduced me to some of my favorite authors. I was told that during her time, the country had citizens that were very good in English regardless of their educational attainment because English was widely and strictly used.
My Lola is one good example. She only finished a vocational course in typewriting from Underwood School. When you ask her for deep and highfalutin English words, she’d be able to say what they truly meant. Sadly, today when you look around, in terms of English speakers, I think we are a dwindling race. English as a second language of Filipinos is fast deteriorating. Most of us widely speak in Taglish. Not many can speak at least two or three sentences in straight English. Worse, the diction is twisted to favor a twang often mistaken for a sign of being affluent or elite. And believe me, nothing is farther from the truth.
I firmly believe that the media had something to do with it. It has played a major role in the inability of many Filipinos to speak English well. TV programs nowadays are all in Taglish even the news. And it also does not help that when people text or send SMS, the language and writing is inappropriate. Even I am guilty of seldom using the prediction dictionary on our mobile phones.
In all honesty, as a blogger, there were also times when I could no longer remember how to spell certain words properly because I was used to all those “short-cuts” that we texters do. The infamous Jejemon style or initialism also doesn’t help. The result was our inability to learn correct spelling, impacting our ability to communicate clearly and correctly. The key lies in recognizing that proficiency in communicating in English is absolutely necessary.
In this age of globalization, it is inevitable that Filipinos will interact with peers and colleagues in the international community. With the numerous business processing outsources (BPO) and call center companies opening its doors to Filipinos, it is important for us to have excellent English. My college professor used to say that the Filipino enunciates clearly, pronounces every syllable in a pleasant, and non-threatening tone modulated for every ear to capture its essence, that’s why we have been one of the most-sought-after call center agents. However, it is also true that from numerous applicants, only a handful passes the simulation exams for call center agents. The number one reason still had something to do with our lack of English communication skills.
Professionals who seek employment in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and other English-speaking countries are also required to take the IELTS or TOEFL exams. A friend of mine had applied as an apple picker in Wellington, New Zealand a few years ago. He had to take the IELTS exams twice because he had not been good in conversational and written English. Taking the IELTS is like taking on a college admission exams, but probably more difficult based on my friends’ assessment. For one, taking the IELTS or TOEFL is quite expensive.
I could just imagine what my friend had to go through—taking the IELTS twice in a row. He said that choosing the review center is crucial. “Do your own research. Find a review center that has a great track record. They must bring out the best in you, but more importantly they must believe in your ability,” my friend shared. Thus, it is very important to choose the right review center before taking the IELTS or TOEFL exams. One must also consider finding the right teacher.
The good news is there’s AHEAD Professional Network
(AHEADPRo) ready to help you. It is a learning and development solutions provider of skills enhancement programs and training seminars. It is dedicated to the development of goal-driven, service-oriented professionals who seek to improve their skills to achieve their goals and of companies that aim to shape a globally competitive workforce.
You know you’re in good hands since AHEADPro has a pool of highly respected and esteemed specialists, experts, academicians, and consultants who are regarded as authorities in their respective fields, as lecturers and trainers. AHEADPro encourages their students to do their best and strive for excellence. Teachers and instructors are also very open and approachable. Thereby making AHEAD as the leading and the most multi-awarded review center in the Philippines.
|AHEAD business unit manager Ms. Erica Dela Cruz.|
As a division of AHEAD Learning Systems, Inc., AHEADPro was initially organized to support the recruitment and training activities of AHEAD Tutorial & Review Center. AHEADPro offers English review programs that are recognized by the British Council and IDP Australia, both official administrators of the IELTS. According to Ms. Erica Dela Cruz, AHEADPro business unit manager, their reviewers had 95 percent to 100 percent passing rate for the IELTS and TOEFL exams. With such high passing rates, you’re already assured of the review center’s great track record.
Ms. Jane Quinto, an AHEADPro instructor and speaker recommended in taking their Mastery of English Language Certificate (MELC) as a good preparation for those taking the IELTS and TOEFL tests
. They also give refresher’s course. “We have high standards of quality, our pool of trainers are all cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude and coming from the best schools like University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University, University of Asia and the Pacific, and Asian Institute of Management,” Ms. Quinto volunteered.
|AHEAD speaker and instructor Ms. Jane Quinto.|
AHEADPro also offers programs on business communication skills for executives, managers, supervisors, and employees. These programs may be tailor-fit for the companies’ needs. AHEADPro’s reputation for excellence was acknowledged by the Senate of the Philippines when it commissioned AHEADPro to prepare Senate employees for the Civil Service Exams a few years ago.
Aside from corporate development programs, they also offer leadership training for educators through the Leadership Strategies for School Managers (LESSM) and the Teaching Strategies for Student Achievement (TESSA) programs. They have other programs also for Business English Skills Training (BEST), Mastery of the English Language Certification (MELC) and writing workshops.
|LEADERSHIP STRATEGIES FOR SCHOOL MANAGERS (LESSM)|
AHEADPro also intensifies the use of technology, as they want to reach out to more students, they offer Internet-based training, online face-to-face, virtual training and interactive online analysis. This program is perfect for those living abroad, foreigners, and those who live outside of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Whether you are a fresh graduate applying for your first job, or an employee about to pitch your idea and make a business presentation, it is imperative to ace that job interview or close that business deal. When we speak good English, there is a fast career growth because English is the language widely used in the business world.
|AHEAD President Ms. Rossana Llenado.|
I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Rossana Llenado, AHEAD president—the brains and force behind AHEAD Learning Systems, Inc. What impressed me the most about her was her passion for helping other people to achieve their career goals and dreams in life. “Continuous learning and improvement of one’s self has a multiplying effect on others. That’s why the company has been giving free training to public teachers and principals to further improve the quality of education in our country. By helping these unsung heroes, we also help the youth of today,” says Ms. Llenado. Just like her, I too, believed in the water ripple or multiplier effect of life because we are all connected to each other.
My friend is now an assistant at the apple farm where he first worked as an apple picker. He will forever be grateful to AHEADPro for helping him passed the IELTS. His training from AHEADPro equipped him better for his new found life in New Zealand and helped increased his confidence in speaking the English language. He owes his promotion from being an apple picker to becoming a farm assistant to his ability to speak in English. “When a Filipino speaks English, it does not pretend to sound western but both Asians and Caucasians can easily comprehend what is being said. My boss immediately promoted me because he can communicate with me better than my co-employees,” shared my friend.
Lastly, I had also observed that some Filipinos thought that speaking in English is unpatriotic. I do not agree. We are not less Filipino for mastering another language. Someone pointed out, we are Filipinos, why speak good English? It is amazing that we do, despite the fact that we’re not Americans. We are only making good use of our gift for mastering to forge ahead. Indeed, excellent English is within our reach. It's never too late to give English a try, even after you're done with your college diplomas and have taken your masteral degree.
For more information on AHEADPro and other courses offered by AHEAD Learning Systems Inc., Please call 433-9300, 0917-5000999
|The author is at AHEAD Tutorial and Review Center in Katipunan.|