El Fomentador

Alive and well in Mexico…

Posts Tagged ‘teachers

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.

https://i1.wp.com/katiejeffreys.com/ducky/ducky28.gif
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.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by El Fomentador

January 21, 2009 at 5:54 am

“Star trek” Languages Inc.

leave a comment »

You know, after visiting hundreds of really bad schools of English in half a dozen cities in Mexico, I thought I had seen it all. What a fool I was. Tonight as I was walking past our local branch of the https://i2.wp.com/blogs.amctv.com/scifi-scanner/2star_trek_csg_031.jpgUniversity of Bugtussle (well, it actually has absolutely no connection with any university in Bugtussle, they just use the name “Bugtussle” because, well, I guess they use it because it sounds better than calling it the “University of Screw You”. This outfit has several buildings downtown and they are making money hand over fist by, frankly, cheating every poor SOB that walks through the door expecting a useful education. The main thing that students learn at this place is that there is no end to the number of ways that scam artists will try to steal your money.                 https://i2.wp.com/www.freeimageslive.com/galleries/buildings/london/pics/bigben01958.jpg

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by El Fomentador

November 13, 2008 at 6:54 am

The “Harming-them All” School of English

leave a comment »

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.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by El Fomentador

September 3, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Top Ten Signs of a Patito

with one comment

Oh, I know, it may be considered kind of a cheap hook; the whole “top-ten” list thing. But a friend suggested it and I thought it might provide a little relief, while providing some clues on what to look for in las escuelas patitos de ingles in Mexico. I admit I have a list of ten, but I am going to add them over a few days. I am hoping that people will add their own ideas and we can see what people are finding out there.

The Top-Ten Signs That You May Be Attending A Patito In Mexico

Number 10. Although the school is in Mexico, it is named after a dead U.S. President. (Or a statesman, or scientist, or the Queen of England, for God’s sake!)

Number 9. They offer “certificates” in 14 different languages, including Swahili, but only have three teachers. And they only speak Spanish.

Number 8. Employee dress code includes clause requiring teachers to use deodorant, comb their hair and change their underwear everyday. (And the code needs to stipulate that doesn’t mean to just exchange your underwear with someone else.)

As promised here are the next three signs your school may be a patito. You know, I could use some help here; as you may have noticed I am not really a comedy writer. The sad thing is all of these have some truth to them. The dress code thing, for example, I wrote to the company asking if it wasn’t a little embarrassing, no response, go figure!

Number 7. No one at the school actually speaks English, including the owner.

Number 6. “Textbooks” are all photo copies of stolen material.

Number 5. Patito franchise owner defends $30 pesos per hour (with no guarantee of number of hours) as a “competitive” salary and brags about the “benefits package” that includes a 10% discount at some fly-by-night optical company. (Oh, he wishes everyone “Bueno Suerte” as he drives of in his new Mercedes.) Here is a guy that really cares about the future of education in Mexico, (as long as he can make a buck off of it.) Ok, I’m being sarcastic, does that count as humor?

Stay tuned, and add some of your own sarcastic remarks. Luego
Read the rest of this entry »

Las Escuelas Normales en Mexico, Official Patitos?

leave a comment »

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Geek_rubber_duck.jpg

One-hundred years ago the state university in my home-town was called a State Normal School. It’s purpose was to train teachers that would supply schools in small towns across the region with well-trained teachers. It worked. Today the school is a part of the University system but it still provides teachers for thousands of public schools in hundreds of communities, large and small, across the country. Those teachers and their professors are justifiably proud of the contribution they have made to the education of tens of thousands of students. Students that have gone on to become teachers, administrators, researchers, community and business leaders.

Eighty years ago a series of Normal schools was established in Mexico. Their purpose was the same: to provide teachers for the schools that were slowly being established in rural areas. In my opinion, it hasn’t worked. For example, in the southern State of Guerrero, there is a shortage of more than one-thousand teachers in the rural schools. The truth is no one wants to teach in rural areas. There is very little infrastructure, limited resources and a general underlying sense that an adequate education is of no use to people living in the countryside. (The old: “Education is necessary, but the masses aren’t ready for it.”) The answer to the teacher shortage has been to provide instruction via video. That might work as a stop gap measure but it cannot and does not replace classroom teachers.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by El Fomentador

March 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm