How do Filipinos perceive using and learning the English language? Let us take a look at some common scenarios in different sectors:
- In classrooms:
- Students always ask if they can speak in Tagalog because they have a hard time expressing their thoughts in English. The term, “nose bleed” was coined to refer to such difficulty in speaking in English and in understanding English, as well.
- IT and Engineering students are taking English for granted because they think that they would not use it in their fields anyway.
- In offices:
- Executives talk to each other in English, but they would switch to Tagalog when they address secretaries, utility personnel, and other people deemed to be not proficient in English.
- Some people are hesitant to speak in English when they learn that they are talking to an English teacher or to someone with a “twang” for fear that they will be criticized or even laughed at.
- In beauty pageants:
- Candidates have a hard time constructing their sentences and expressing their ideas as well.
From these scenarios, it is clear that a number of Filipinos are not comfortable using English, and to some extent, not that proficient in the rules of English grammar.
John Robert Powers (JRP) Manila recognizes the need for Filipinos to brush up on their English communication skills. That is why; the English Learning Program (ELP) came to life. ELP is a unique program that integrates Teacher-led Classes, Conversation Clubs, Online Grammar Cafe, and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) to further enhance the four macro skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – of the students. The programs are designed and customized to suit the students’ needs. An assessment is done before assigning the students to different levels to make sure that their specific needs are addressed.
ELP students range from pre-teens (10 years old) up to professionals (60 years old) and vary from businessmen, lawyers, accountants, politicians, celebrities, and others. All of them, like one lawyer student, claim that after taking one stage of the ELP programs, her English has really improved and she has gained more confidence too. A congresswoman, who is also taking English courses, vouches that she is relearning and learning even more from the JRP-ELP courses that she is taking.
JRP-ELP advocates to change the negative perceptions that Filipinos have on the English language by producing individuals who are proficient in grammar and are competent in delivering the knowledge that he/she has. After taking courses at JRP-ELP, one will “nose bleed” no more. He/she will be able to sustain grammatically correct and contextually appropriate English, whether in written or in spoken form.
Of course, there is no promise that students will learn English in an instant. It will not happen over night; but with the ELP programs and with the student’s effort, constant practice, and determination, it will definitely happen. This is JRP-ELP’s promise.