From Zero to Hero in English Language

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Kaung Sett was disappointed when he took his high school exams, having scored lower than he hoped on English language. But the young student from Myanmar was determined to improve. So when he heard about a program at the American Center in Yangon, he decided to apply.

Seven years later, Kaung Sett not only speaks English fluently, he is the head teacher at a private English language school.

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“My life started at zero English, but now I’ve become a hero in my career,” he says.

World Learning manages the English Language Program (ELP) — hosted at the American Center in Yangon as well as the Jefferson Center in Mandalay — in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Yangon. Since World Learning began implementing the program, ELP has helped approximately 4,685 young people, ages 16 and up, gain language skills.

“Level 1 totally changed my life,” Kaung Sett says. He discovered that learning can be an active experience. Rather than simply giving lectures, his teacher encouraged students to engage in their education through exercises and field trips.

“I didn’t learn only about English,” he says. “I also learned teaching strategies.”

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Kaung Sett developed his passion for teaching as a facilitator for a student reading group during his second year. He watched proudly as the participants progressed. And so, upon completing Level 6, Kaung Sett found a teaching position at the George English Training Centre language school in Yangon.

Now, at 23, he has won two teaching awards and landed the coveted spot as head teacher, a position in which he trains other teachers. Kaung Sett hopes to further develop his abilities by earning a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA). He also envisions leading school systems to share this valuable skill with Myanmar’s youth.

“If your English is very good, then so many opportunities open for you,” he says.

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