El Fomentador

Alive and well in Mexico…

Ingles Muy Rapido, Sin el Esfuerzo: Welcome to “Quit Learning”, Patito of the Month

with 2 comments

You know, el Fomentador was prepared to take a year off from complaining about English education in Mexico. By now it should be clear that I don’t like seeing desperate people being ripped off by corrupt businesses and institutions–but enough about Wall Street and the US Congress! (That is supposed to be kind of a joke, ja,ja.) But seriously, I was walking home from a friend’s house and came across a brochure from the new kid in town, which I like to call: the “Quit Learning” school of English. This joke is just the latest patito to crawl out of the duck pond.

I found the brochure (really it was like a twelve page magazine, I’ve seen thinner copies of Time Magazine, Latin American edition),  printed in full color on glossy paper, right where I should have expected–trampled underfoot by the edge of a vacant lot. Oh, I have a lot to say about this outfit, but I was ready to start taking it easy, ready to write about things that don’t get me angry. I was ready to give the patito business a pass until the country can get control of internal security. But there it was, half covered in dirt, a few holes poked in the cover by countless footsteps crushing it against the small rocks in the litter-filled lot. It’s like it was waiting for me to walk by, as if it was calling out to me: “Hey, there is a new school here with one of the dumbest concepts ever.”

Oh, this is tough on my goal of a new “positive outlook” philosophy. I mean really! I think this edu-business is so full of mierda del toro that I can’t even write this all at once. For now just let me say that they have what they refer to as “la tabla phonetica de colores”. It is some sort of lame, color coded phonetic chart, the use of which, according to the Einsteins that dreamed up this useless gimmick, will result in perfect English pronunciation. My opinion: learning to use the stupid chart would be as much work as learning a new language. And even then the actual utility of knowing the chart would be nil. More on that later, when my BP settles down.

They claim they only hire native speakers. Well, in the advertisement there is a group picture of what they say is their teaching staff (although I suspect they included anyone that works for them in any capacity; the only employee that didn’t get in the picture was the poor guy with the camera). There are more than 500 people in the picture, five rows of guys and four rows of women. The group is so big that the people look like ants–except without those little feelers on their heads–you really can’t tell who any of them are, even with a magnifying glass. Certainly throughout the photo you can spot a few big knuckleheads sticking up above the crowd that must be Americans, (or they might be Brits, who, I can say, generally qualify as big knuckleheads too). So I don’t believe them. Big surprise, huh. I’m skeptical, okay?

The teaching staff is subjected to a grueling 260 hours of training, apparently in color de-coding. And then, perhaps the most demanding requirement of all: they are forced to wear cheap, matching blazers and ill-fitting polyester slacks. Oh yeah, the women have to wear these huge, sort-of-bow-tie-looking scarfs. All I can figure is that some defunct airline somewhere had a big stash of  flight attendant uniforms left-over from the 1980’s. So far I realize it all sounds very official. But take the word of el Fomentador, a patito with some peacock feathers stuck on its arse is still a patito–is that from Shakespeare?

I’ll be back. As I was writing this I recalled that I still haven’t written anything about another pronunciation scheme, produced by our idiot friends at the world-famous patito that I call: “full-of-Bullshlitz”. You know, the same company that was cheating people out of money fifty years ago by selling those sets of 78 rpm records, with the box that declared  “Learn German the Bullshlitz way”. The cover would always show some yodeler wearing liederhosen and standing next to Heidi’s cabin in the Alps. I find it amazing that the company has managed to keep its standards so consistently low over all of these years (and still manages to make so much money doing it). Keep up the bad work, folks, you bunch of…!

If I can badly paraphase an old quote: “These are the ‘phony  schools’ that try the soul of el Fomentador”.

Luego, amigos.

Hola again,   How y’all doing? Can you believe I almost forgot about this rotten school? There were a few hits on this post recently so it reminded me that I have more to say about it. Now there’s a suprise for everyone, right?

They claim that in this  ‘school’ there are no classes in grammar (everyone hates grammar, so why waste time with that), there is no required writing, (forget about spelling and vocabulary, it’s boring), there’s really not much useful reading either. So what do the classes consist of, you may ask? Even if you weren’t going to ask, I decided that I would tell you. You know, just to keep things ‘flowing’. From what I’ve gathered the classes are all about speaking–and that’s good, except the speaking amounts to reciting dialogue from scripts of  soap- operas. Oh John! Oh Marsha! Apparently you get a double bargain–English and acting lessons at the same time. Amazing, well, the really amazing thing is that they get away with it.

Also, according to the sales literature, each class room is out-fitted with video cameras and microphones that feed back the info to a central ‘quality control’ center in Mexico City. Really? If anyone is watching or reviewing the tapes, I suspect it is only to make sure the teachers actually show up sober (and are dutifully wearing those crazy looking uniforms). And of course, as with all of these rip-offs, the home office wants to make certain that no one diverges from the script. They don’t trust the teachers to actually ad-lib anything that may be useful to the students.

Okay I am done ranting for today–it’s late and although my time is really not that valuable, there has to be something better I could be doing than writing about the venerable (or do I mean venereal) patito “Quit Learning and just repeat some stupid lines from a script”. I should add here that I believe there is some value to practicing reading aloud, it is often called, ‘guided reading’, or ‘radio-reading’. But it only really helps if you have someone there that knows what the heck they are doing. And I have my doubts about that happy, smiling crew at “Quit Learning”.  Adios!


Written by El Fomentador

January 21, 2009 at 5:54 am

2 Responses

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  1. Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

    Marc Shaw

    October 15, 2009 at 2:39 pm

  2. hello,

    thanks for the great quality of your blog, every time i come here, i’m amazed.

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    black hattitude

    October 23, 2009 at 1:33 am

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