Monday, September 16, 2013

Learning English at a Young Age is an Advantage

Kalihi Waena Elementary School May Day
Celebration.  I was in the 5th grade when I  was
selected as a "kahili bearer."
The average age range of our students at the American Institute for English Proficiency is 20 to 30 years old.  Many of our students finally came to our school to improve their English and communication skills because they are looking to boost their careers, gain confidence and employment, or seek personal enhancement.  They are mostly Filipino professionals from different industries, and because most of them are working, they can now afford to study English.

One of the reasons why many of them do not speak English well is because they did not enjoy their classes.  Furthermore, they didn't believe that English and strong communication skills would one day help them in their careers.  After some years in their respective industries, they have come to reach the glass ceiling and impenetrable walls, and they no longer feel that they are as competitive as their colleagues.

Fortunately for me, I moved to the United States when I was just nine years old.  At an early age, I realized that strong English and communication skills would be my edge.  In high school, I was the editor-in-chief of our newspaper and the literary magazine editor.  I was also  the captain of the debate team.  I even participated in speech competitions,winning awards in dramatic interpretation, and I was a member of our school's theater group.  In college, I continued participating in speech and debate competitions, winning numerous awards in speech, specially in my final competition held in Vancouver, Canada, where I won Western America Communication Association's Impromptu Speaking Championship.  At the end of my college life, I was selected as the commencement speaker. 

I strongly believe that I became a good speaker because I started at an early age.  As soon as I knew that I would need strong communication skills to compete in the "real world," I was determined to continually improve my English and communication skills, which would, in turn, enhance my critical thinking and build my confidence.  I remember joining a reading program at our local school library; it was especially enjoyable because I could get stickers for each book I read.  I even remember the very first ever gift that I got from a teacher, a dictionary.  She told me that one day, I would be a great speaker.  Today, I am the co-founder of the American Institute for English Proficiency, and my clients include celebrities, politicians, call center managers, doctors, and lawyers.  I have worked with major local and multinational firms. 

I urge parents and older siblings to encourage their young ones to start at an early age.  Do not allow your children to be handicapped with poor English and communication skills.  Do not wait till they are in high school, and it becomes harder to acquire the language skill.  And for those who would like to continue learning, it is never too late. 

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