Thanks to Facebook and Google, it has never been easier to find what you need. Dry-cleaner? Check. Movie listings? You bet.
It’s a bit tougher to find an English language school that provides an education that benefits you outside the classroom. While American English can help Metro Manila residents who are looking for personalized language skills training, things like time, distance, and convenience might complicate things. That’s why we’ve partnered with Pisara to provide you with online English language training anytime, anywhere.
But if you still want that face-to-face experience but can’t make it to American English for any of the reasons described above – maybe you’re halfway around the world, for instance – we’ve provided a checklist of things that can help you find a good place to learn what you need.
What do they offer on the first session?
Back home, exercise gyms usually offer the first session free-of-charge. This indicates two things: First, they’re confident enough to give you glimpse of what they have to offer. Second, they’re willing to let you get to know you before you sign on the dotted line. (Don’t you wish that beauty salons can do the same thing?)
Because we’re confident that you’ll come back to us for all your language learning needs, our first session is provided free of charge and includes a comprehensive assessment test. Like the first session at the gym, our assessment tests tell the training staff exactly where you need the most assistance. After that, we’ll meet with you and talk things over so we can get a better feel for what you want to learn.
Our course catalog contains all kinds of courses that will give you a leg up either at school or work, whether you want to improve your technical writing skills, converse with clients or family, or pass the IELTS or TOEFL.
Still not convinced? Come by and take a brief demonstration lesson that we offer at no additional cost. This demonstration lesson lasts anywhere from 15-30 minutes and will not count towards any learning package that you want.
When you’re looking for a good language school, think of an assessment test and a demonstration lesson as prerequisites rather than luxuries.
Location, Location, Location
There was an article not too long ago about a group of schoolchildren who had to ford rivers and climb an entire mountain just to get to the classroom.
Although society thinks highly of students who go to great lengths to learn, that doesn’t mean you should have to. Most of our clients adjust their schedules accordingly around traffic and weather conditions — not to mention their employment, educational, and familial obligations.
Luckily, you don’t have to look very far to find us. We’re located on the 17th floor of the Antel Corporate Center in Makati, the financial district of Metro Manila. Things can get busy around here, though the vast majority of our students get here easily by taking public transportation or simply taking the scenic route on foot.
It’s convenient, too. There are a bunch of restaurants and fast food places nearby if ever you need to grab a bite to eat, and our proximity to several major streets means you can hail a taxi or dial up your preferred transportation service without a hassle.
When you’re looking for a language school, consider its proximity to where you live, work, or attend class. Can you walk there or take public transportation? How long will it take to get there and back? It’s nice to have options, especially if they’re good.
Find out how they teach.
So you enter the classroom after a day that had seemingly droned on forever. You can see it in everyone else’s eyes, and they can see it in yours: It’s about to get even longer.
Work was work. But traffic was bad, the weather even worse; it’s been raining so much that you look like you had just gone for a swim, yet the parking lot is just a stone’s throw away. Just then, the teacher barges in with a stack of papers and tells everyone to go over Future Progressive Continuous and read a bunch of stuff that sounds like gibberish — possibly well-written gibberish, but still gibberish nonetheless — out loud ad infinitum ad nauseum.
Learning doesn’t have to be a chore, and no one knows that better than anyone who’s been on either side of the teacher-student divide. Think back to your own experiences: Some of the things you remember the most, you probably heard from a jingle on television or took away from a game you played in class. You remember it because it was fun to hear over and over.
While different approaches work for different people, each class should begin with a warmer that gets you motivated for the lesson and end with a practical but nevertheless engaging activity that tests what you’ve learned.
If the language school offers a free demonstration lesson, take it and get a feel for how the teachers conduct their lessons. Their classes should be fun, motivational, and involving. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re attending a lecture or being pressured; they should give you a chance to speak and show them you’ve learned what they thought.
Do they tailor their lesson plans?
You show up bright-eyed and ready for your one-on-one training session. That is, until your trainer tells you turn your textbook to page 119 – out of 656, give or take. After memorizing hundreds of rules and taking enough notes to fill an entire book, it dawns on you: You haven’t learned a thing over the last three weeks. Sure, it’s great to learn about Carl’s favorite flavors of ice cream, but it won’t help you with your clients in Moscow, Idaho.
Don’t be afraid to tell your trainers what you need to work on the most. Do you need additional training for a job interview? Are you looking to get a leg up at school or work? Whatever you’re looking for, American English will help you come up with a plan that’s just right.
And that means that you shouldn’t worry about burying your nose in a textbook. While a cookie-cutter approach may benefit younger learners, large classes, and teachers who forgot to plan because they spent last night painting the town red, teenage and adult learners require greater flexibility and specificity: Customer service representatives probably want accent neutralization training, whereas college-aged students need a curriculum that can help them pass the TOEFL or IELTS examinations.
If there was ever a time to go with a more intuitive approach as opposed to the dreaded task of memorizing too many grammar rules, that time was yesterday.
Is the staff friendly and professional?
As customers, we often forget how much power we wield with just our wallets. If we don’t like the service at a business like a restaurant or a store, we could simply take our business elsewhere. Angered by Nike’s unscrupulous employment practices, activists initiated a global boycott campaign in 1990 that put a dent in the company’s sales and forced it to change its ways.
The same thing applies when it comes to looking for a first-class language school. As adults who have been through a lot in our professional lives, we neither have the time nor the patience to be talked down to or treated like inconveniences. If we don’t like the service at a store or a restaurant, we could simply take our business elsewhere – and the same thing applies here.
At the very least, an English language school should be synonymous with a safe and non-judgmental learning environment. That’s why it helps to get a feel for your prospective language school on your first visit. Is the staff friendly, courteous, and professional? Are they attentive to your needs? How often do they engage you in conversation? Do you feel you can get along with the trainers?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions before you make any big decisions. American English will help you at every step of the way. Check our course catalog or stop by our place to begin your language learning journey.