ieltsCNR - VN Enonomy News - NGOC ANH
15:06 (GMT+7) - Tuesday, June 14, 2011
15:06 (GMT+7) - Tuesday, June 14, 2011
After volunteering in Vietnam, Dave Cadman decided to stay and become a businessman.
Like many visitors, Dave Cadman was fascinated by Vietnam’s rich, long history and culture and wanted to come here to find out more. His first job was as a volunteer with a development NGO, teaching English. He then established an English language school to help make his dream come true: helping Vietnam by providing quality English training.
When he first came to Vietnam as a volunteer he was worried his efforts and energy may be wasted. But as he gained experience he knew the best way to help Vietnam was to give her people the language tools they needed to change their lives. “With good English skills they could earn more from their work,” he said. “They could negotiate business contracts more effectively. They could understand the wider world and find opportunities for themselves and for Vietnam.”
Reaching his goal was no straightforward task, though, given the competition from prestigious international English schools in Vietnam for a long time already. If he was to establish a school under the same operating model as others such as the British Council, Language Link, and Apollo, the chance for success may be limited. So he chose a distinct training model for his school: focusing on teaching International English Language Testing System (IELTS) courses to students.
The IELTS CNR English Language School was set up in 2008, with Dave as General Manager. “There are two kinds of centres: one specialises and the other does everything,” he explained. “While many English schools in Hanoi teach young children or teach TOEFL or TOEIC and many other things, we focus on IELTS and understand the exams in great detail. I believe we are special compared to some of the other English schools because of this focus.”
After selecting the focus, Dave and his co-workers undertook the steps needed to establish the school. The process came with many difficulties and challenges, such as keeping CNR’s profile high in a crowded market place and, on a personal level, grappling with the transition from teacher to manager.
However, with his previous experience as a marketing/PR officer and with support from the Department of Education and Training, the challenges were overcome. He now puts a great deal of effort into finding teachers that are suited to his centre and its teaching style.
One of his principles is to always treat people with respect, generosity and integrity, because this is how you would wish to be treated. He actively applies “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself” in his teaching and business as well as his private life. “This is probably why students sometimes contact me late on a Friday night for IELTS exam advice before they take it on a Saturday morning, which I don’t mind at all,” he said. Perhaps the tight and close relationship this creates between teachers and students at CNR lies behind its success.
Another factor is the high quality of its teachers. All are foreigners from the UK, Australia, the US, Ireland and South Africa, who go through an interview process of several stages before being selected.
Moreover, in order to have a staff of teachers who are not only good at professional knowledge but also have effective teaching methods, “we have regular teachers’ meetings where we train them thoroughly so that everybody performs the same way, and to allow them to understand Vietnamese students more thoroughly,” he said.
As a result, almost all students learning at CNR achieve the IELTS score they’re looking for, whether they need 5.5 or 6.5 or even 7.0, and more than just a few well and truly exceed their own expectations. This, of course, very much depends on their own commitment. In the space of six months after opening CNR had around 30 students and this now stands at over 250, at two English centres in Hanoi.
Dave is truly satisfied with CNR’s results so far. “To be able to see students progress from zero English to advanced in such a short period of time and to expand their educational horizons is more reward than anyone could ask for,” he said. But he believes his own contribution is tiny.
The most important thing he wants to see is success for his students in many countries around the world. He is very happy to regularly receive emails and calls from former students now living in London, Sydney or even Japan, saying how much they enjoyed studying with him and how useful it was.
As for the future, “I think our contribution will grow,” he said. “The students we have taught so far will, one day, be sharing their skills and experience and setting up businesses in Hanoi, employing many more people and helping to develop Vietnam. You could say ‘A mighty oak from a tiny acorn grows’ or ‘plant the seed and watch it flower’.”
Moreover, together with help of his co-workers, Dave will build CNR into a family for students, from young to old, and a “one-stop-shop” for English and other skills when the courses and programmes at CNR are expanded and develop its philanthropic work by providing scholarships and training internships to those who are in real need and are motivated to change their lives.
Holding on to his initial goal of contributing to Vietnam and hoping to bring CNR to a new level, Dave added that “our long term future goals are to make CNR a strong, Vietnamese-owned language centre with the ability to expand throughout the country and, maybe, even the region, so that it contributes not only knowledge but also foreign capital to Vietnam.”