SEARCA offers blended English lessons for scholars in the new normal

  • 12 August 2022, Friday

SEARCA, through the Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD), organized the 2022 Basic English Course for Scholars via Zoom from July 5-13, 2022 and face-to-face lessons at the SEARCA Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna from July 21 – August 2, 2022. The course aims to enhance the scholars’ English proficiency and encourage them to be more comfortable in using the language in preparation for their studies. Offered annually by SEARCA, the course also contributes to building the capacity of individual scholars and their home institutions as part of Accelerating Transformation through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN).  

Sixteen participants across nine different joint scholarship programs registered for the  50-hour blended English course. During the short opening program on July 5, Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Senior Program Head of ECLD, welcomed the scholars and shared that SEARCA organized the learning event to serve as a refresher course and to whet the scholars' appetite to explore and learn more about the English language. Despite the diverse scholarship programs offered, all the participants carry the SEARCA brand, serving as the Center’s ambassadors to the region. Building their communication skills is a means to help them represent the Center as scholars and in the future, as its alumni.  

(Top) Mrs. Emerita P. Cervantes, Consultant, and Lead Instructor; (L-R) Ms. Ann Michelle V. de Ocampo, Ms. Madonna M. Dimaano, and Ms. April Sibayan-Obille.(Top) Mrs. Emerita P. Cervantes, Consultant, and Lead Instructor; (L-R) Ms. Ann Michelle V. de Ocampo, Ms. Madonna M. Dimaano, and Ms. April Sibayan-Obille.

Retired Professor Emerita P. Cervantes, Consultant, and Lead Instructor, provided the course overview and introduced the teaching team. Mrs. Cervantes' team has been a long-standing English language course provider for SEARCA during its scholars' training and the regional events in Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Module 1 on Pronunciation Improvement and Conversations for Social and Academic Interaction was handled by Ms. Ann Michelle V. de Ocampo via online mode.  

Module 1 on Pronunciation Improvement and Conversations for Social and Academic Interaction.Module 1 on Pronunciation Improvement and Conversations for Social and Academic Interaction.

The scholars continued their classes face-to-face at SEARCA with Ms. Madonna M. Dimaano who taught Module 2 on Reading for Academic Purposes, with Vocabulary Enrichment, and one class for Module 3 on Grammar. Module 4 on Writing Effective and Correct Sentences and Restatements was lectured by Mrs. Cervantes, while Ms. April Sibayan-Obille served as an understudy of Mrs. Cervantes in Module 3.

Continuation of classes for Modules 2-4.Continuation of classes for Modules 2-4.

On August 2 and after sixteen sessions, the participants of the Basic English Course attended their closing program. Dr. Cuaresma reminded the scholars that it will take continuous practice to hone their English skills and that the classes provided to them will serve as their foundation.

Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma during her inspirational message to the participants.Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma during her inspirational message to the participants.

The Basic English Course completers with their instructors, the Education and Collective Learning Department, and Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, Deputy Director for Administration of SEARCA. The Basic English Course completers with their instructors, the Education and Collective Learning Department, and Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, Deputy Director for Administration of SEARCA.

Speaking as a representative of Class 1, Mr. Delfim Da Costa recognized that they have limitations in communicating using the English language but they do acknowledge the importance of such skills as English is the key to communicating with the world.

Mr. Delfim Da Costa from Timor Leste, SEARCA scholar studying PhD in Environmental Science at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.Mr. Delfim Da Costa from Timor Leste, SEARCA scholar studying PhD in Environmental Science at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

Asman, the representative of Class 2, noted that they experienced a lot of things during their classes and the other activities they participated in during their visit to the Philippines. They consider SEARCA as their second home and their fellow scholars their family. Together with Asman and Delfim, the rest of the scholars provided a special number by singing Leron Leron Sinta.

Mr. Asman from Indonesia, Tokyo NODAI-SEARCA scholar studying PhD in Plant Pathology at Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo NODAI).Mr. Asman from Indonesia, Tokyo NODAI-SEARCA scholar studying PhD in Plant Pathology at Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo NODAI).

The scholars, majority of whom are non-Filipinos, took the time to study a Filipino song for their special number. Four Filipino participants helped them learn Leron-Leron Sinta.The scholars, majority of whom are non-Filipinos, took the time to study a Filipino song for their special number. Four Filipino participants helped them learn Leron-Leron Sinta.

Mrs. Cervantes, in her message, thanked SEARCA for trusting her team in handling the Basic English Course and the other English proficiency courses offered by SEARCA in its Institutional Development Assistance program for many years. She recognized the scholars who persevered and worked hard to master a language that is not their own. Mrs. Cervantes wished the scholars the best in their upcoming studies as they return to their respective study posts.

Mrs. Emerita P. Cervantes, providing her message of encouragement to the scholars as they prepare to go back to their studies.Mrs. Emerita P. Cervantes, providing her message of encouragement to the scholars as they prepare to go back to their studies.

The Basic English Course is part of a broader range of academic and extracurricular learning events that serve as tools for scholars to complete their academic requirements on time and support their social well-being. Other training programs offered by SEARCA for its scholars include the Writing Thesis/Dissertation Proposals, Quantitative and Qualitative Research Designs and Data Analysis, and Scientific Writing and Presentation.