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ATI’s TESOL Course Elevates Fema Ampilanon-Osman's Teaching

Versatility is the name of the game for Fema Rose Ampilanon-Osman, who teaches Science, Music, Arts, Health and Physical Education to fifth graders at a public school in Davao, Philippines. Carrying responsibility for these many subjects on her shoulders, Teacher Fema decided to take the Advanced TESOL Online Program at American TESOL Institute Philippines to improve her command of the English language—wanting the best not just for herself, but also her students.

Finding Common Ground

With the implementation of Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education, young learners begin their formal schooling by using their first or native language, but English is soon designated as the medium of instruction by the fourth grade. Given the diversity of local languages as the foundation for these students, the transition is oftentimes not smooth and can hamper the quality of their learning, as Teacher Fema observed.

“We cannot communicate if we are using different languages,” she relayed that her students are most comfortable speaking in Cebuanong Binisaya, Maranao and Tausug. “One of the ways [to address this] is to introduce the English language in [a] more simplified and easy to understand [way], so that the transition is not difficult for the children.”

English became the common language or lingua franca that bridged communication gaps among the learners. However, this brings new challenges especially in studying the sciences, as Teacher Fema noted, “I am teaching students who are also not speaking the [English] language, so it is difficult for them to understand the Science content.”

Taking ATI’s TESOL program served a dual purpose; she simultaneously honed her English language skills and explored new methods to apply in class. Possessing a better grasp of the language, Teacher Fema has become better equipped to guide her students as they navigate learning a foreign language while studying other fields being taught in English.

“[The program] deepened my understanding of the lessons I already encountered previously. I learned more about the [teaching] process and some games I could put into my lessons [for different] subjects,” added Teacher Fema, who has served in the educational profession for 10 years and counting.

A Supportive Setup

The asynchronous mode of learning allowed Teacher Fema to balance the online course with her current teaching responsibilities. The self-paced nature of the program meant that she could incorporate a few modules per week into her schedule so she could keep progressing at a steady rate. The online program was the perfect opportunity for her because she previously could not attend physical TESOL trainings since these were not available in Davao City where she resides.

Even with the program’s focus on independent learning, Teacher Fema felt supported while taking it, particularly when she encountered a small problem with the platform and could not submit her answers for one of the latter modules.

“Fortunately, I was given an extension so that I would be able to finish the program. [...] I was just so thankful that, even though [the concern] was [sent] late in the night, the next morning there was already an answer. [...] The assistance, the guidance—that was really the best part of my experiences with the program.”

Pushing Onwards; Giving Back

With her TESOL Certificate, Teacher Fema intends to pursue professional development opportunities abroad “to experience how teaching is being done in different countries.” Recounting her disappointment for not making it to the shortlist for an international exchange program she had applied to three years ago, she has high hopes for a much better outcome when she tries again in the near future, especially since the certification was listed among the advantageous qualifications that could improve an applicant’s prospects.

Teacher Fema, who also leads her school’s Continuing Professional Development program, further explained, “If I am able to participate in an exchange program, I think I will be able to give back to where I am right now. [...] I would like to expand my knowledge about the education system [of other countries] so I can incorporate these into our own system.”

Inspired by her students, she shows a significant dedication to training young learners to “improve not just in academics, but also in communication.” Witnessing them be “able to put together simple sentences [and] be confident [when] communicating in English” has been most fulfilling for Teacher Fema. She is fully invested in facilitating the growth of young students and pushing the standard of education to new heights.

“One of the greatest achievements I've had during this pandemic was to acquire the [TESOL] certification,” Teacher Fema expressed. “Sharing my knowledge is already part of my system, that’s why I want to improve more [...] to become a better, if not [the] best, teacher.”

Just like Teacher Fema, you can earn a TESOL Certificate and reach new heights in your teaching career by enrolling in our Advanced TESOL Online Program.