Although English is part of the Philippine educational curriculum from preschool to university level, many employers tell us that this is still an area for improvement for aspiring and new employees.
We asked our resource person, Vina Vidal Vicente, to enumerate some of the most common errors in both written and spoken English, and enlighten us on some ways we could improve.
Correct usage needs to be taught and drilled. Still another frequent error is using object pronouns as subject pronouns, for example, “Me and Julie went shopping”. As the pronoun is used as a subject in the sentence, it should be changed to “Julie and I went shopping”.
These are only a few of the very common slip ups made every day. Ways to remedy and improve are:
1. Practice, and continuous learning. Read books and other materials in English. Listen to music, watch movies in English. Most importantly, use and practice the language as often as you can.
2. Encourage your team members to speak their mind. This means providing support as they express their opinion on a project or an issue—even when it is not aligned with yours. This also encourages the use of English and enables them to practice and eventually, gain confidence.
3. Give them constructive feedback. Impart useful and practical tips in a positive tone. This will help your employees and team members recall your corrections, without feeling embarrassed.
Remember that when our employees gain confidence in their communication skills, the rewards could go beyond savings in time and effort.
One of my former students told me that he used to consult with his superior every time he wrote an email reply to his clients. This resulted in long delays in response time.
After taking a business writing course however, he gained enough confidence to craft replies himself and he sends them right away, thus impressing a client with his quick answers. The client then rewarded him with more sales. A win-win outcome for all involved.