LISTEN well. Enunciate. Emphasize the proper accent. Follow the neutral accent of the model speaker. Type the given words and phrases. Answer the comprehension questions. Demo teach. Answer at least five units with all the lesson, repeat, type, and question components.

These and many more were what we did in the Language BEST/ AdEPT seminar last June 16 to 21. It was conducted by Zoe Diaz de Rivera and Gino Caliwagan and facilitated by Victor Loyola and Karen Foronda of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) and TUP Manila.

The seminar was participated by the faculty members and office support staff of TUP Visayas.

The seminar tackled language, grammar, teaching methodologies, classroom management and learning styles.

The BEST (Basic English Skills Training) track created by IBPAP strengthens the four macro skills that are valuable to learning English and also other general subjects.

Yes, we know that listening, speaking, reading and writing are proficiencies needed by the students to hurdle their quest for skills in other sciences. So to effectively survive the competitive global environment, we need to be enabled by these abilities.

BEST uses a guided independent online learning methodology which was installed in each of our computers so that we can do our tracks even at home. And talking of tracks, each of us was given a tracker to monitor our progress on the 46 lessons having 127 units. Heavy stuff. But really, tackling the sessions was pure fun and learning after we got the hang of it. Anyway, we have three months to go before the program installation will expire.

AdEPT is acronym for Advanced English Pre-Employment Training, which is, to use the IBPAP context, “an industry–initiated intervention on oral English communication skills.”

In AdEPT, our lessons are fast-tracked (normally the course runs for 8-9 days) to improve our pronunciation, grammar and fluency to speak the English language (with emphasis on the æ sound on language) with clarity, accuracy and confidence. Drills and practice exercises are the key words we used for the four phases of each unit we did: lesson, repeat, type and question.

So with our headsets on, we trod the long road of listening, concentrating and repeating the different words until we have successfully articulated the basic sentence unit the neutral way—not so slang as the Americans do, but a better interface with native speakers of the English.

Having the programs installed was like having a private online language trainer and a personal speech laboratory that offers instant assessment and feedback.

So off we nudged ourselves with the rigors of listening to the seminar- inputs, learning our lessons, rehearsing properly the selections, listening to ourselves, repeating the words, phrases and sentences, and checking the grammar content. We analyzed industry-related cases, took tests to check and discuss our learning and management styles, participated in our group activities and processing, did our lesson plans, conducted our demo teachings and shuttled to and fro our classes.

We wrote our compositions, printed screen our scores, submitted them online and sometimes work offline to do our assignments.

Commendable among us is Darla who was able to do her 49 lesson units, when others have only completed 30 or less. But Amor, Greg, Tina, Rodelyn, Benjie, Pierre, Grace, Ace, Helen, Gershom, Patrick, Jovel and Cris were sources of inspiration. These colleagues were like open vessels who willingly welcome more inputs of the nuances of the language.

In the duration of our six-day seminar, we did not only experience the e-learning component, but the depth of language acquisition used in proper context, appreciate the cultural and linguistic characteristics of native language speakers, understand better the business process outsourcing and service management industry and realize our limitations in the subjects we’re teaching.

These are the skills we hope to share with our colleagues, students and friends: more functional communication skills to fill in the competency gaps, problem-solving and analytical proficiency to compete in the tasks in the real world, and the strategic discourse ability to meet head on industry-related situations.

Why these skills? Because according to IBPAP, our country produces about 450,000 college graduates annually and is among the top three IT-BPO (business process outsourcing) and GIC (global in-house center)locations in the world (after India and China) in terms of the number of graduates.

Therefore, we, teachers and facilitators of knowledge, must enhance our educational and training structures to ensure an effective, efficient and reliable supply of highly qualified talents.