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Headed Home: Nian Yang Takes ATI Lessons To Mainland

For Mr. Nian Yang, going back to China was not just about returning to his roots; it was bringing something—a tangible measure of growth—back home.

In ATI Philippines’ two decades of experience in training both Filipinos and foreigners for English language teaching, most individuals’ reasons for earning a certification have been to head overseas with internationally recognized qualifications. Oftentimes, this has meant packing up and leaving hometowns.

Nian, however, has quite the unique story. He, too, is soon to roll out his suitcase, but this time he’s returning to his birthplace, with ATI’s Advanced TESOL Certification in tow.

On Philippine Shores

When Nian was in China, he had already been studying English as a foreign language—and he hadn’t liked it at the time. Back then, English didn’t seem all that important. After all, he wasn’t in an English-speaking environment, as neither his peers nor his family actively used the language. It proved challenging to learn a new language without practicing it constantly.

“The way our teacher taught us English was all about remembering the words and grammar rules without applying it,” he shared. “We were focused on [passing] the examinations, not using English as a communicative tool.”

According to Nian, this manner of teaching English has persisted to this day in China. Now, he’s on a mission to change the way the language is taught. This ambition was kindled partly because of how he learned to use the language when he flew over to the Philippines. 

During his collegiate years, he pursued a nursing degree at a local university, but what really characterized Nian’s life on Philippine shores was learning to take command of the English language so he could communicate with friends, watch movies, and understand what was happening around him.

As trivial as these things may sound, it was what kept Nian going throughout his time in the Philippines. “I always wanted to step out of my comfort zone, to improve my English. It worked out pretty well, so now I want to share my experiences and inspire more people to learn English,” he added.

When asked about why he went from nursing to education, Nian revealed that he had taught Chinese during his sophomore year in college. This experience sparked his interest in language education, albeit to teach English this time around. While teaching Chinese came naturally as it was his mother tongue, the fact that he was able to grasp a new language spurred him to now want to teach English as a way to prove himself.

Meeting Novel Goals

A few of the friends that Nian made in the Philippines had also taken ATI’s Advanced TESOL Program in the past, back when face-to-face classes were the norm. Because of their smooth experience, they recommended the program to Nian.

As the COVID-19 pandemic had forced activities to pivot online, ATI adapted its flagship program to the digital realm through the Advanced TESOL Virtual Program. This course is taught via a combination of Zoom sessions and asynchronous modules, emulating the physical program by providing an open space for discussion while also delivering the comprehensive lessons necessary to build the participants’ knowledge and skills in effective English language teaching.

“The synchronous sessions were really a great experience. ATI helped me understand that there’s a lot of preparation, strategizing, and considerations that go into teaching English,” Nian shared.

He added that the most memorable part was developing a lesson plan and executing a teaching demonstration as the program came to a close. As it was his first time to do these activities, they were definitely no easy task, but just as how Nian levelled up his English speaking skills, he met the challenge head on and was able to complete the project successfully.

Take-home Messages

Now that Nian has earned the TESOL certification, it will help him demonstrate his knowledge and skills that he has been building up since he first set foot on Philippine soil—validating his qualifications to teach English around the world. Nian is especially excited about the many possibilities in English language education, ranging from teaching primary school students to foreign language learners trying to perfect their accent.

For the moment, however, he has his sights set on home. While his experiences with English as a young learner in China hadn’t been the best, he’s determined to return and teach students to truly perceive and use the language as a communicative tool, and gain confidence in the process.

“As I go back to China, I hope that I have more chances to practice my teaching skills by using what I have learned from ATI and become even better,” he expressed.

Whether you're headed overseas or staying locally, ATI's Advanced TESOL Virtual Program is your next step towards improving your English skills and teaching strategies. Explore our site to learn more!