There was a timewhen people around the world considered the idea of speaking ENGLISH or another second language as a “luxury.” Very few thought of it as an important tool to be attached to their résumé. Things have changed: The world is changing directions as an effect of the global perception of communication. An accountant during the seventies spent his whole life submerged in bookkeeping while a current consultant is stuck on his computer, doing business with an ENGLISH speaking investor in the USA, Canada, or even Europe. The fact is that since ENGLISH has become a universal language, local professionals are faced with a bilingual reality; a reality that will control the destiny of our commercial stability in the world of the future. ENGLISH language proficiency, in addition to an intelligent attitude toward improving our countries, will be the main element to becoming a developed nation. ENGLISH must be a common language, not just a “luxury.”
The other day I had to face an embarrassing experience while hiring an ESL tutor near Cartago, Costa Rica. She told me that she does not trust me because I seem to represent a “Ghost Company.” Well, in fact, my selected group of customers in Costa Rica and the world would have felt offended at hearing this from a young ENGLISH teacher. It is possible my backpacker appearance could make you feel this way. However, her opinion of Contacto Costa Rica would be disproved after meeting one my collaborators, Adam Mussel ( a backpacker and sandal walker from New Jersey).
Her words made me think about the importance of taking ESL teaching seriously in in any spot of the planet. Obviously, this tutor was free to question the veracity of our services and I seemed to be the interviewee more than the interviewer. In fact, I was not hiring her for her professional services; I was begging her for her professional services.
This experience led me to consider the efficacy of the “non-ghost” schools operating in Costa Rica, in Vietnam, and Ukraine, just to mention a few.
Some of our students contact me through SKYPE® - our tutors work online or make exclusive home and office service – and claim that they have been being taught from eight months to one year at ‘School X’ with the promise of improving their ENGLISH communicative skills. However, they feel their abilities are not good enough to face a job interview without further teaching.
Maritza Mora, Smith Sterling human recourses manager, in Costa Rica-Central America, receives a great deal of applications from local schools’ students hoping to be hired. Unfortunately, they do not meet the requirements for satisfactory customer support of her company’s headquarters in The United States.
As a matter of fact, these ESL-EFL students are not able to make or answer a telephone call because of poor training during their previous coursework.
It is important to understand that 30% of learned ENGLISH is found in text books and the other 70% is acquired during real situations/practice. Our integrated programs are designed perfectly in order to help each student have a wide knowledge of grammar rules, fluency, pronunciation, and sentence structure. If students do not flourish with Immersion ENGLISH training, he or she will not be able to face a real situation, whether it is a face-to-face or on the phone.
On the other hand, the immersive work of the teacher-led calls form an important part of this learning process. An article from La Nación (a leading newspaper in Costa Rica) published last year, claims that only 20% of the ESL teachers working for the Education Ministry reach a B2–upper intermediate level, while 31% got their Bachelor’s degree with an A2 level and are hired anyway.
Finally, elementary and high schools, as well as universities and institutions in general, should change their strategy of teaching ENGLISH as a Second Language (ESL) to promote technical and thorough programs focused upon the bilingual reality our professionals face at the present time. In addition, individuals should consciously work harder in order to reach ENGLISH fluency, or at least the way he or she speaks their mother language, putting fear aside and making their new language a natural element of communication.
The inquisitive words of the young tutor were not in vain (she was not hired for the peace-of-mind of my fellow students) and I have her name for referrals.
But she was right about one thing...YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU INVEST FOR YOUR ESL LEARNING.