Thursday, May 10, 2012

English Proficiency Workshop at Speech Coach (JC Santos Speech Training Center)

I have decent enough English writing skills but I am not comfortable with speaking in English at length. I know many Filipinos can relate to this. We've been taught English since we were toddlers. We watch a lot of Hollywood movies and American TV shows. We read a lot of English books and magazines. We use written English a lot in our work/business and we type a lot of our thoughts in English to converse with people online, BUT we only speak in English when it is required. Try speaking in straight English out of the blue and chances are, other people will find it amusing or maarte. Double that if you speak with an accent. Triple that if you have no mestizo features at all.

When I chanced upon the Speech Coach ad for a 1-day intensive English fluency and self-confidence workshop, I told bf that we should check it out. He was skeptical; he wasn't sold with the idea that a life-long awkwardness with English speaking would be solved in just 8 hours of work. We went anyway.

Speech Coach, The JC Santos Training Center

Speech Coach has two branches, both in Marikina: one in C&B Mall and one across Santolan LRT-2 station. We chose the Santolan branch since going there was more convenient for us (via LRT-1 and 2). When we were already in the Santolan station, we couldn't see Speech Coach's sign so I called them up and we were told to cross the overpass and someone from their office would be waiting for us at the 7-11 store. True enough, a guy was waiting for us in front of 7-11 and he accompanied us to Speech Coach. Their office was just a few steps away but was not conspicuous when standing in the LRT station due to the way the road curved.


Speech Coach, The JC Santos Training Center

The workshop was from 9am to 5pm and the maximum number of students per class was 16. That particular day, there were eight of us. One was a student and the others were all professionals. I was actually surprised to see our classmates. I guess I was expecting some bumbling people, but our classmates, during our getting-to-know-you portion, spoke well enough. They already spoke clearly in a well-modulated voice and already looked confident to me. So just a little more polishing was needed.

The workshop was done in the second floor of the building and had an informal classroom setup. Our teacher was JC Santos, the owner of Speech Coach. According to him, he used to be with Speechpower but his then-boss (and mentor) encouraged him to spread his wings and find his own path.

JC Santos of Speech Coach
JC Santos of Speech Coach

We were given individual workbooks which we used for the reading exercises and for writing down notes. A workbook contained 52 pages. We didn't have to read the book cover to cover. JC emphasized some of the lessons written in the book and we did some oral exercises. We could read the rest and do the other exercises at home.

English Fluency Training and Personality Training workbook by JC Santos

The workbooks were my only complaint with the whole lecture. When they were handed to us, one of my classmates asked if we could write on them. JC said yes, and that the books were ours. After the lecture, we were surprised because we were charged P350 each for the books. That was one expensive workbook! The bigger issue was that we were not informed beforehand that we would be paying for them. We couldn't back out either, because we had already scribbled notes on the pages. We felt set up somehow. Good thing we had extra cash. Otherwise, we would have ended up sweeping the floor (since there were no dishes to wash).

Anyway...

Aside from English proficiency, the seminar also touched on self-confidence. JC taught us about the power of words and how self-affirmation could help build confidence. Also, he stated that speaking with conviction was actually more useful than memorizing grammar rules when it came to achieving fluency. I agreed with him and for the same reason: even Americans commit grammar mistakes while speaking, but we don't notice those mistakes much because Americans speak English confidently.

There was a one-hour lunch break during which some of our classmates trooped to the nearest eateries. Since SM City Marikina was within walking distance, bf and I opted to exercise our legs and go to the mall.

After the break, we had more pronunciation drills and reading aloud exercises. Another teacher (the lady in the pink dress) came by to facilitate some of the exercises.

Speech Coach, The JC Santos Training Center
Speech Coach, The JC Santos Training Center
class dismissed

Bottomline: Fluency is a habit. Habits are formed by doing them everyday. Thus, to become fluent, you have to practice everyday.



Speech Coach
The JC Santos Speech Training Center
3 MA Roxas St., Calumpang
Marikina City, Metro Manila
(infront of Santolan LRT Line 2)
Phone: 964-0366 / 792-4342 / 0917-8694722
Web site


34 comments:

  1. Sana matuto din ako magspeak ng english, yong hindi wrong grammar hehehehe.....

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    Replies
    1. Keri yan! Wrong grammar is not too obvious when you speak confidently :)

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  2. we Filipino speak good english or as my husband was always saying ,we speak fluent english. kaya lang hindi natin nappractice palagi .kaya nga one of his policy in the house before was speak english only para daw matuto yung panganay ko dahil kailangan nya yon pag uwi namin ng US. I hope we make it a habit to talk in english lalo na pag may mga ibang lahing kaharap para hindi sila maintimidate at napaparactis english natin at pati na rin sana english accent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup it's really hard to practice speaking in English here, because people are afraid of being criticized. Ironically, foreigners appreciate our speaking skills but criticisms about grammar, diction, and pronunciation usually come from fellow Pinoys.

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  3. i think it was a great idea to go and check it out. we always need to improve ourselves naman talaga di ba..

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  4. I am into English online teaching yet I know I am not fully fluent. I may need to try attending english proficiency workshop. thanks for sharing.

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  5. the workbook is a holdup :D

    but wait... i know the lady in purple. she's our badminton buddies here in Laguna.

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    Replies
    1. Really? Small world! Please tell her I said hi! :)

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  6. ganyan din ako dati (now pa din naman hehe, eager to learn!) pero the best place to practice is with Toastmasters International.. for sure meron dyan sa area nyo... check out their website .. ang galing.. actually, you gave me an idea, iblog ko nga un minsan.. been a member for too long a time na, pati dito sa US nag member na din me hehe.. try nyo din ni bf mo.. ma surprise ka sa results! :))

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'll check it out too. I hope it's not expensive tho.

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  7. wow this is great. actually we are one of the best English speaking countries. I've been to so many countries where their professionals can't even speak good English. Which means we are world class! ;)

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    Replies
    1. True. We're actually #1 in business English according to a recent survey (beating the USA). I guess it's more of a lack of confidence or being too self-conscious. Although most Pinoys can carry a conversation in English, they don't consider themselves fluent enough (even if they are) since they lack the accent and pause when speaking.

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  8. If only this are near on my place I would gladly enroll myself

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  9. can totally relate! :)) I only speak english when required.

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  10. I haven't been to an English Workshop before though our school had speech classes. This would indeed be beneficial for those who want to improve themselves in this area. Thanks for the heads up!

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  11. I am not that fluent when it comes to the English language, written and spoken. I really want to get a speech coach but it is quite expensive here in Sweden. Another thing is that, English isn't really used in this country which is why I postpone the plan all the time.

    I am so happy for you! Hope that you have the confidence that you need after attending the seminar :)

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    Replies
    1. One trick we learned from the workshop was that you can practice alone by reading aloud. Just a paragraph will do, read it aloud again and again everyday for about a month and you will see a noticeable improvement. Haven't tried it tho, ningas kugon ^_^

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  12. Good thing I had those extensive English proficiency trainings for free from my previous jobs. IT really helps if you really practice it. Lahit ung simpleng chikahan lang with friends. =)

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  13. i think our English proficiency is our edge over other countries, sa business writing lang naman dapat correct grammar and everything pero sa everyday conversation pwede na basta carry...di na nila mapapansin un...

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    Replies
    1. Exactly! Just speak confidently and your audience won't notice/dwell on your grammar mistakes :)

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  14. "Fluency is a habit. Habits are formed by doing them everyday. Thus, to become fluent, you have to practice everyday."

    maybe that's why when i was still in sutherland (call center), i always see posters saying speak english, and people there, whenever inside the company, would always do so.

    im currently having a blog giveaway.
    i hope you can join :)
    http://iwriteitalldownhere.blogspot.com/2012/05/unleashed-randomness-x-frida-accesoire.html

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  15. I think this is a good opportunity especially to those who needs improvement tlaga. But TBH, i admire filipinos cus der r a lot of us who can really speak english fluently. kudos! :)

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  16. How was the workbook contents? Bilhin ko na lang. :)

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    Replies
    1. It is useful but overpriced imo. Too bad we had to back out of iBlog8. Dalhin ko sana para makita mo.

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  17. Speaking fluently begins with Confidence, with the capital letter 'C.' :)

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  18. this is more of like public speaking, right?

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    Replies
    1. It's applicable to public speaking as well, tho our exercises were more on conversational.

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  19. Naalala ko yung English campaign nyo ni Sally hahaha, hindi tuloy kayo nag-usap. :P

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  20. unsugarcoatedreview thanks for the review. For those interested about speechCOACH, you can call us or text us at 0917869422 or 9045326

    ReplyDelete
  21. hi i dont know how to start to learn a fluent english
    heheh pwede b jan starts from the scratch??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Romel. You don't have to start from scratch, you already know English ;)

      What we tried was just a one-day workshop focused on diction, pronunciation, and confidence. Not sure if they offer something more intensive. Please inquire with Speech Coach directly for the current rates and available classes.

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  22. gusto ko po sna ienroll àng mga anak ko jan 13,10 & 6? pano po kaya?? gusto ko kc habang bata p cla matuto cla mging fluent sa english.. mlaking factor kc sa pag aaral at pag hhanap ng nla ng trabaho in he future..

    ReplyDelete

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