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Any info about American Academy (AMA)?
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ajc19810



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 214

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe another SITC in the making?
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JSutt



Joined: 22 Jan 2013
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

flying low wrote:
AMA has a terrible reputation.

I know some people that recently interviewed there in Hanoi.

Beware.

They are owned by Cleverlearn. This is the deceitful bunch that own the Ban Bao Street Cleverlearn Hanoi location. CL has gone totally backpacker and pays $18 gross before they take taxes out. Constant influx of travelers and many with horrible accents.

The place is imploding.


No, AMA is Cleverlearn. They rebranded a while back.
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cb400



Joined: 27 Sep 2010
Posts: 168
Location: Hanoi

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ajc19810 wrote:
Maybe another SITC in the making?


Good point. I think teachers should be watching for the warning signs.
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VietCanada



Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 259

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think AMA and Cleverlearn are the same thing. AMA sends you to public schools while Cleverlearn offers in house classes. I had a bad experience with Cleverlearn and a good experience with AMA. In HCMC.

I found Cleverlearn to be an utter joke. The paradigm of everything that can be and is ridiculed in the EFL industry. The Rob Ford of EFL.
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cb400



Joined: 27 Sep 2010
Posts: 168
Location: Hanoi

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VietCanada wrote:
The Rob Ford of EFL.


Awesome, great quote.
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Anh Dep



Joined: 16 Mar 2013
Posts: 53
Location: Bangkok Thailand

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VietCanada wrote:
I don't think AMA and Cleverlearn are the same thing. AMA sends you to public schools while Cleverlearn offers in house classes. I had a bad experience with Cleverlearn and a good experience with AMA. In HCMC.

I found Cleverlearn to be an utter joke. The paradigm of everything that can be and is ridiculed in the EFL industry. The Rob Ford of EFL.


They are one and the same

http://www.ama.edu.vn/en/contact/ama-nguyen-thi-minh-khai.html
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Mattingly



Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some facts about AMA (owned by Cleverlearn). I can only speak for Hanoi, but this info has been verified by several teachers. Please note that I've never worked there, but am posting this because this school is stealing from teachers and also stealing from students.

The owner (as usual), is connected.

AMA has a slick marketing program that goes to high schools to recruit ignorant young students who want / need a 6.5 or higher on the IELTS exam.

AMA is all pay up front. Each student pays 100% of the entire program's tuition up front, all at once.

The catch for this up front scheme:

Each student then signs the "guaranteed" score contract. AMA "guaruntees" every student an IELTS score of 6.5. Anytime there is a guarantee of a test score, this is fraud. Again, all fees are paid up front, for everything.

If a student does not get a 6.5 score, they can continue taking classes for free after they have finished the lengthy program. But most will drop out.

The contract each student signs with the "guarantee" is filled with, "but, however, but, however, but...."

Students also have to enter the school with fingerprint I.D. to log in hours and study the "secret" textbooks on-site only. They cannot take certain books out of the schools. These books are....that good. Strange?

In almost all circumstances, students cannot keep up with the curriculum. It's designed that way. There are a small handful of students who obtained a 6.5 score. Obviously, their photos in elaborate frames are on the walls of the reception. These (if even true) are the exception to the rule.

*AMA hired without pay, a traveler who was deaf and had a speech impediment because of his deafness. The man wanted to "see if he could teach English" and had no experience nor qualifications in teaching. The man approached AMA for the opportunity to cut his teeth by "teaching" for free. AMA (shock!) said "sure" and had him working 18 hours per week, even teaching IELTS. Of course, the students never received a discount, in addition to "learning" from an unqualified person with a speech impediment.

AMA recently cut pay to a very low level. Even below backpacker wages. Cash flow problem, because they've been collecting 100% of their fees up front? I don't know. But it's fair to speculate.

AMA also reneged on a written contract of an hourly wage to a teacher it hired. On pay day, the school paid less, with no justification explained.

A post criticizing AMA for this by this teacher has mysteriously been removed from another site. Somebody being leaned on? Threats?

The word is out among the foreigners, but I'm not sure if the students have realized this scam. If and when the students do realize this is fraud, AMA will likely fold. Hopefully, they will.

More on Cleverlearn Van Bao street, later. Another charade.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 322

PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tell all my students that AMA is a terrible school. Some of them had brothers and sisters attending, but they stopped at my recommendations. I pointed them to some of the more reputable language schools.

I have to give them credit though. They know their target market well, and know just what to say to steal their money. In the long run this will only cause more problem for those of us who want to teach well.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will work for a while but in time word will get around - and then they will re-brand again.

It does make me sad for the students but there is nothing we can do. Worse things happen at sea as they say.
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LarueLarry



Joined: 05 Jul 2013
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ExpatLuke wrote:
I tell all my students that AMA is a terrible school. Some of them had brothers and sisters attending, but they stopped at my recommendations. I pointed them to some of the more reputable language schools.


Besides the info in this thread, what makes you say that? It's a franchise, so some are worse/better than others. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I have a couple friends at the Da Nang branch. They don't have any serious complaints about working there. And they're both stand up guys with proper credentials.
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scottydu



Joined: 19 Nov 2013
Posts: 3
Location: HCMC, Vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AMA and Cleverlearn used to be one and the same. I've worked for both when I first got here and asked about it. They said they are no longer under the same umbrella. Whether they updated their websites is another story...

I know many who work for Cleverlearn in D7 and like it alright, but as far as AMA... the pay is under market and their facilities are not that great. Keep in mind Cleverlearn is all over so D1 Cleverlearn could be a lot different. Even the Cleverlearns aren't really networked well, so apply at the one you want to specifically work at.
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JSutt



Joined: 22 Jan 2013
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LarueLarry wrote:
ExpatLuke wrote:
I tell all my students that AMA is a terrible school. Some of them had brothers and sisters attending, but they stopped at my recommendations. I pointed them to some of the more reputable language schools.


Besides the info in this thread, what makes you say that? It's a franchise, so some are worse/better than others. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I have a couple friends at the Da Nang branch. They don't have any serious complaints about working there. And they're both stand up guys with proper credentials.


I'd also like to know, since I work at AMA Da Nang and do my best to help students getting ready for their exams. Is this from some personal experience or just internet gossip that you're warning people off?
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VietCanada



Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 259

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ExpatLuke wrote:
I tell all my students that AMA is a terrible school. Some of them had brothers and sisters attending, but they stopped at my recommendations. I pointed them to some of the more reputable language schools.

I have to give them credit though. They know their target market well, and know just what to say to steal their money. In the long run this will only cause more problem for those of us who want to teach well.


With all due respect you shouldn't involve students in this.

As a former retail business owner I can say that customers hold you in less esteem when you attack a competitor. EFL isn't tea party politics.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've often wondered what the best course of action is regarding a school you know to be Scheisters. I usually just say I can't recommend them rather than trying to warn students off.
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VietCanada



Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 259

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In business I focused on my own shop, what I had to offer.

If the competition is truly doing something that customers dislike and you have identified and included a solution in your own model then customers will hear it. My staff were trained to focus on our business and what we had to offer. By instruction and example they never attacked the competition regardless of how outrageous the competition's behaviour was. Just say 'I don't really know much about them but we...(your narrative or sales pitch (in old school talk))' and of course you include your solution.

What they did when I wasn't around is another story LOL. From their stories I felt I could safely assume that they were following their training.

As an EFL instructor or Teacher I would think you'd need to focus on student results and the methods to achieve them. It's unlikely that the customer would care about anything else. Especially what they might perceive as petty, mundane complaints about a former employer. That's the stuff that causes them to lose respect for you or perhaps just think less of you. It doesn't necessarily change their opinion of either employer. Working out a narrative that includes all possibilities from working for different companies (in the future) may well be impossible.

You want them to want you to teach their children or themselves regardless of who you work for. This tack assumes you don't get a cut of the company's profits. I think it's the only thing that really matters in the end - you. Kind of like a hairdresser or salesman. So maybe focus on what you offer and how your current employer enables you. Include solutions. Don't be the one to bring up the other company, don't even think about attacking them.

When in doubt keep your mouth shut. They might give you an opening to tell them what's in it for them to have you as the teacher or instructor. You are an independent contractor.

Hope that helps or at least points you in the right direction.

Better yet I hope you never get caught up in that crap.
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