El Fomentador

Alive and well in Mexico…

The “Harming-them All” School of English

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Another name-brand franchise patito. True-to-form, this one’s tucked into a junky-looking building on a side street across from a shopping center parking lot. Its cheap, back-lit sign is the only light on the block. The narrow one-way street in front serves mainly as a short-cut for harried commuters trying to skirt the afternoon traffic that piles up across el centro. https://i2.wp.com/katiejeffreys.com/ducky/ducky30.jpg

Yes, more than just another crummy, store-front patito, “Harming-them All” really lives up to its pseudonym. Of course the foundation of any patito is built on reams of useless, outrageously over-priced material. This place doesn’t even bother to have their crap printed anymore–it’s all just photo-copied (of course it is still over-priced).

“Harming-them All” is a real triple-threat: They throw poorly-prepared (and even more poorly-paid) “teachers” into classes of up to 30 students and then make certain that any student that can pay is passed up to the next level–whether or not they actually learned anything. The idea is that they don’t want the students to learn too much so they can keep them hanging on and hook them into the full course.

It works something like this: 18 levels–18 months. The students have to buy new material at different levels throughout the course. You can be bi-lingual in one and a half years. And if you’re not they will just “tweak” your test scores and present you with a certificate of completion that is pretty much worthless anyway. “Thank-you very much for giving us your hard-earned cash, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

So once again we see the classic patito performance pattern: abuse the teachers, cheat the students and undermine real educational opportunity in a region where tens of millions of young people are starving for the chance to learn.

A special feature of “Harming-them All” is their policy of promoting, shall we say, less than ethical, sales people into positions of authority thereby helping to assure a continuous supply of incompetent, dishonest, administrators for all of the other bad schools around. I actually know a former director, who, realizing what a great scheme this was, promptly stole all of the material  he could get his grubby little hands on and went out to start his own school. Today that school stands as, perhaps, the worst example of a patito in Mexico. Way to go, Pedro!

When I am walking home I often cut across the shopping center parking lot. In the evening, students sit outside for their break, smoking cigarettes and flipping through the pages of their “text-books”.    I always stop and talk to them for a few minutes–I can attest that I have never met one student at “Harming-them All” that could actually use English.

I did meet a young Mexican guy who was working there as a teacher–and he spoke a little English. His credentials consisted of having lived in Texas for six months. (I didn’t have the heart to tell him that, really, most Texans don’t speak English that well. Yes, it’s true, I pick on Texans almost every chance I get, but they are generally pretty good-natured about it.) Besides he made it clear he was only working long enough to save up the money to get back to the States.

So for its continuing dis-service to Mexico and its people, I nominate”Harming-them All” School of English as one, big, fat, escuela patito.

My recommendation: Stay as far away as possible from this phony outfit–it’s a real scam!

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Written by El Fomentador

September 3, 2008 at 8:31 pm

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