All About Philippines English Schools. ETHOS English School Cebu.
In the series of our blog posts we will talk about Philippines English schools.
We will analyse schools, see their advantages and disadvantages.
Our analysis we will start with the English school in Cebu – ETHOS.
ETHOS is an English school in Cebu, Philippines. It is owned and run by America family who are educators in Asia for the last 40 years.
ETHOS does not believe that English can be learnt and spoken only with taking one-to-one classes. There are many English schools in the Philippines that emphasise importance of one-to-one classes and argue that this is the best way to study English, but in ETHOS they think it’s not the case.
Imagine yourself in the intense high school or university class. Think how difficult it is to memorise perfectly everything your were taught during that class. The same as that, it is impossible to memorise English you receive in any one-to-one class simply by taking an English lesson, even if you are studying abroad.
In order to learn English and to be able to speak fluently, not only taking classes are important, but also an environment that allows you to review the content of the classes constantly and an environment where you can practice English.
What is crucial and necessary to look for when studying English abroad is not the number of one-to-one classes, but it is important to have an appropriate number of class hours, an environment where you can review what you learnt, and environment that requires you to practice English.
ETHOS School Environment.
ETHOS has all three things crucial for learning English: proper number of class hours, environment to review what you learned, English environment to practice English. Furthermore, ETHOS is the only English school in Cebu, Philippines that has homestay programs with Americans.
ETHOS provides to all who want to study English:
- Systematised group lesson (maximum 6 people in class).
- Environment to review what you learn in class with Americans.
- An environment where you can practice English outside of your classes.
In addition to the lesson hours, ETHOS created an environments where you will practice to use and listen to English language as long as you are awake.
Classes in ETHOS.
Philippines is a very popular destination for studying English. There are more than 200 English schools in the Philippines, and majority of them offer long one-to-one 8 hour courses with Filipino teachers. However, even if there are many international students who are happy to have many hours of one-to-one classes, there are a lot of students who are not able to speak English after finishing studying in the Philippines.
While one-to-one classes seem to have many merits (and are one of the things that attract students who study English in the Philippines), they also have disadvantages.
Disadvantages of One-to-One Classes.
One of the biggest disadvantages of foreign students who do only one-to-one classes is that they are not able to speak English in public after all, but there are other things:
- I can not understand the teacher.
When you do an one-to-one English class and you don’t understand what your teacher says, there is no one else in the class who can help you to understand.
- A tie up with a teacher.
After you understand your one-to-one teacher, you get used to way he or she speaks. It is difficult to speak with other people because they use different vocabulary from your one-to-one teacher and you are shy to speak to the person you are not familiar with. Learning how to speak with one person is easier than to learn how to speak with many different people.
- Vocabulary does not increase.
After you get comfortable with your teacher the content of your conversation stays almost the same. The vocabulary used does not change when the content to be talked are the same. As a result, the English used is biased towards similar things and vocabulary does not increase.
- There is no curriculum.
There are not many schools that leave the creation of curriculum to Filipino lecturers. In such a case, it is difficult to manage whether or not each instructor is following the curriculum or having a free talk with the student.
Benefits of Small Group Classes.
ETHOS has found that small group classes (up to 6 people) give the best result for most students who study English.
- Help when you don’t understand the teacher.
It is common for all teachers to try their best to explain anything student might not understand. Sometimes it happens that explaining topic in English to the foreigner student is very challenging. In this case, a help from other students in class is vital as it helps everyone to understand what teacher is talking about.
- You can listen to the phrases other people make in English.
Many students who study English in the Philippines can speak only few words in English. Students who are in class with you, will talk and answer questions in English. This will give you an opportunity to see how to use phrases in conversation and you can use these phrases yourself much easier.
- Topics discusses in class.
When a group of people are discussing a topic, much more ideas and vocabulary are used comparing to one-to-one classes. Being engaged in discussion gives additional motivation to study English.
- No tie up to one person.
In a group classes you have to speak to more people and understand their vocabulary and way of speaking. There is no tie up to one person. You will be able to use English with other people after leaving the classroom.
In ETHOS all classes are handled by native American speaking teachers. Texts used in class and all teaching materials, and books are from United States. In ETHOS there are hundreds of books by level from primary school to university level all developed for students in the USA.
Does ETHOS provide One-to-One Classes?
Yes. ETHOS does provide one-to-one classes. This classes are meant for students who look for additional support from American teachers. In ETHOS we proved that the most effective way for the beginners, who don’t speak English or speak English at the low level, to study English is small group classes. This idea is also confirmed by studies of universities such as Oxford University and Cambridge University.
Advice From the Past Student.
I advise you to spend about 2 hours daily on reviewing what you studied in the class. There is a special place in school for this review. On the second floor there is a library and you can review and study there. Why library? Because there is an American teacher available there and you can ask something you didn’t understood in class or need more help with on a one-to-one basis. So you have an American native speaker teacher who can explain you again, help to review, answer new questions. With such approach you can not leave school without learning how to speak English.
24/7 English Environment.
One of the major features in ETHOS is that you can learn correct English from American native speaking teachers in the Philippines. Another important feature is that you can have a homestay at an American instructor’s house.
Living in the house with an American family where everyone uses English you will have everyday conversations in English. When you eat breakfast you speak English, when children play with each other they speak English, you have an opportunity to learn how to use English as America native speakers do. Additionally to that you will learn American culture.
Using English in Activities.
If you go to Cebu Island you must explore exciting and adventurous activities this island has to offer. You should visit beautiful beaches, go island hopping, see and swim with the whale sharks. Besides all these ETHOS offers many activities where you use a lot of English.
When American teachers go out, they invite students and you can learn how they use English. You can learn how to make cupcakes, there are opening parties, and you can join Catholic church meeting during the weekend.
Even if there is no “special activity” to use English, you will speak English while eating breakfast, when talking to your American teacher host and his family. When you go to do your laundry, or do your shopping you have to use English to speak with the clerk at the laundry, teller at the shop. You will learn very fast to speak and to understand English.
In addition to studying English in classes ETHOS provides a unique English speaking environment of a homestay with an American family where you experience and speak English all day.
Study Methods Used in ETHOS.
In order to help beginners, who have studied English only during their school or university years, to speak English we do not simply repeat speaking, but approach comprehensively with grammar, reading, pronunciation, writing and conversation because these are important parts that make your English level higher.
Many students come to ETHOS because they need to prepare for TOEIC test. Many our student, when they come to us, have difficulties with grammar and listening. In other words, people who do not understand grammar or words can not be good at listening.
Likewise understanding not only communication skills but also grammar, words, pronunciation etc. comprehensively is an effective way to increase your English level. In five lessons established by ETHOS you will use various learning activities to improve your weak points towards your goals and support you to speak more natural English.
The conversation is not simply a class where you only talk with the teacher. You will practice to explain the contents of the photo using a specific photograph, for example transportation or a grocery store. You will also study the idioms that accompany these pictures and will enhance your understanding of English. Experiences American teachers, will explain how idioms are actually used and when to use it.
Examples of idioms:
- In the same boat
- Drive you up the wall
- End of the line
- To get the show on the road
- To hit the road
- Road hog
- Shape up or ship out
Usage of idioms is embedded in cultural background. People in the USA and the UK will use different idioms. This is another advantage to have all your teacher to be from the USA as teacher from the Philippines, doesn’t matter how great they are, won’t be able to use idioms same as the native American speaker.
In the reading classes, the instructor reads an American book chosen according to the level of international students, then students answer questions from instructors. At the end of the classes you will need to write a report about the book.
You will hear the correct pronunciation at the time of reading, you will learn the method of pronunciation of the American native speaker, and will become able to speak English with more natural (native) pronunciation.
Example of the reading report:
- Who are the characters of the story? (Characters of the story).
- What is the setting of the story? (Place of the story).
- Please write a short summary abut the story. (Please summarize this story).
- Do you like this story? ( Why do you like this story?).
You will study grammar from ETHOS original text. After the instructor explains grammar, if you do not understand the contents, teacher will explain it again in simpler words. When you understand grammar, you will practice using this grammar by creating sentences. The aim is to create short sentences at the beginning and move to more difficult and complex sentences.
The instructor will correct your mistakes, so that you can create beautiful sentences in English using American grammar. When you will feel that creating correct grammar sentences is easy, you will start using it for everyday conversation. I can confirm it with my own personal experience.
It becomes one of the most popular class in ETHOS. Native American pronunciation is different from Filipino English, there are 14 vowel sounds that are difficult to distinguish for non native speakers. Learn from the Americans how to move your tongue and mouth, how to withdraw air, and practice it many times. Practising new sounds might be tricky and your mouth and cheek muscles might feel tired and sore after the class.
People who have high TOEIC scores or people who have studied abroad are also finding very useful this pronunciation class. The important thing is to continue practicing without giving up!
In writing, you will be asked to write about the topic specified by the verb (have, make, can etc). Initially you will start with short clauses, eventually you’ll be able to write complex sentence with many clauses. You will have many opportunities to use what you learned in reading and grammar and develop your ability to create complex sentences by yourself.
Here you can see courses and accommodation offered by ETHOS Cebu English School.