Expert Tips from Christopher Dela Cruz, Co-Founder and General Manager of the American Institute for English Proficiency
I knew Chris because he was my trainer when I attended a training on English Proficiency early this year. His credibility and competency as trainer is unquestionable. But for me, I remember him as a person who inspired me to improve my skills and reach out to help more people. That’s the reason why I started to blog and interview experts like him so I can share my journey to learning and improving my skills to my blog readers.
A little background about this awesome guy: Chris loves being active. He is into sports like basketball, volleyball, tennis, and badminton. He loves the culture and the arts, like music, movies, reading, an theater. He also loves food, travel and hanging out with family and friends. Needless to say, he loves teaching, too. Chris is the ultimate lover of life and everything it has to offer!
Chris’ quotable quote: “I am not busy. I am super active.”
- What made you decide to put up an English Proficiency Training in the Philippines?
- Who are your typical students in AIEPRO?
- What’s the common English mistakes you’ve observed from your students?
- What tips can you give about how to communicate effectively?
- As a business owner yourself, would you mind sharing your best practices when it comes to social media?
- How can people get in touch with you especially for Virtual Assistants who would want to brush up their skills in English?
What made you decide to put up an English Proficiency Training in the Philippines?
When I first came to the Philippines, I was on vacation. I met a colleague at a call center, Carlo Magbuhos. From there we decided that we would resign from our positions and start our own English school. I decided that since I did a lot of public speaking in the United States, I was a debater, an editor-in-chief of our paper, I also worked as a writing consultant for 3 years at the university. So, I put all of that together with Vince’s skills in management and operations.
As far as my background in education, I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in Seattle University. I was selected as a writing consultant for the university when I was a freshman in college so I have been teaching English since then. But as an editor-in-chief of the high-school paper, I also started teaching English to my staff. I guess in a nutshell, I’ve doing a lot of English since I’m very young. More about Chris here…
Who are your typical students in AIEPRO?
When we started AIEPRO, we worked with call center agents or potential call center workers. Then we realized that there was a need at that time for other professionals – professionals going into nursing, travelling abroad, or professionals wanting to get a promotion who needed to improve their communication skills. A majority of our clients are Filipino working professionals from different fields – accountants, lawyers, engineers, office managers. 10% is comprised of international clients who has chosen the Philippines as their destination for English learning.
What’s the common English mistakes you’ve observed from your students?
As far as common mistakes go, there are 4 things that Filipinos often forget when it comes to grammar:
- Sentence Structures: There are 4 types of sentences namely, simple, compound, complex and compound-complex
- Subject-verb agreement: Basic Principle: Singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs.
- Verb tenses: Verb tenses are tools that English speakers use to express time in their language.
- Prepositions: Prepositions are short words (on, in, to) that usually stand in front of nouns (sometimes also in front of gerund verbs).
Mastering these 4, will make us more adept in using the English language. This is a 40-hour lesson at AIEPRO.
What tips can you give about how to communicate effectively?
In communication, there are 4 skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing. If you really want to be really good all around, you have to practice all 4.
- Focus more on listening and watching English shows.
- Learn to love to read. Read at least 1 book a month.
- Speak English as much as you can. Don’t worry about people who will tease you.
- Find friends who are willing to support you in your goal to be a better English speaker.
- Write, write, write. Then have someone critique your writing.
- Practice makes perfect.
As a business owner yourself, would you mind sharing your best practices when it comes to social media?
First, I concentrate on relationship building because if you do this, more people will be willing to share what you are posting out there. I always respond to people asking questions and asking for advice in English. I don’t tell them right away to enrol in my AIEPRO.
Second, I start to build a network of people who are willing to support my cause. I started to create a blog network The 5 Elements where I invite people/students to contribute to this cause because they believe in improving their English as well.
Lastly, I just continue pushing good content out there. There are a lot of things you see online. Some of them are trending and viral but they won’t last. You have to push out positive things and valuable to your audience.
How can Virtual Assistants who would want to brush up their skills in English get in touch with you?
AIEPRO offers what we called E.S.P. – English for a Specific Purpose where we put together a specific course for Virtual Assistants. We also have general courses like:
- grammar and writing
- public speaking and grammar
- critical thinking and speech class
- american accent – For Virtual Assistants working with clients from the United States, this would be a nice bonus to have.
* You might also like my previous blog post: 10 Better English Tips From My High School Teacher
* Here is another good read: The Ultimate Grammar Cheat Sheet for Bloggers
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