It is said that the young brain is a malleable, amazing piece of hardware in the human body, capable of learning and storing knowledge and able to adapt and respond to different stimuli. The brain of an older person is usually described in opposite terms as our neurons die, blood flow to the brain decreases, and a host of age- and lifestyle-related diseases affects its functioning. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, we are often told, and we accept this as gospel truth.
Well, it seems that the best cure for an aging mind is new learning. After all, just like a lot of things in life, if you don’t use it, you lose it. After a whole day at John Robert Powers, learning, among other things, social etiquette and communication, this old mind is awake and ready to learn more.
The last time I was in a classroom was in the early 90’s, way back in medical school. I honestly thought that a whole day of being stuck in a classroom, much less one in JRP, would be something I would no longer appreciate, but as it turns out, if you have good teachers and well-designed syllabi, eight hours in a classroom is a breeze.
In 1985, when John Robert Powers first opened in the country, I was a high school senior a month from graduation. It was one of those things I really wanted to try then but never got around to doing. Twenty-nine years later, I finally got the chance to do so, thanks to the kindness of John Robert Powers Manila and Mommy Bloggers Philippines. It’s an experience I am not likely to forget.
Morning classes that Sunday, the 25th, were all about social etiquette. It was a timely reminder for so many of us that grace and etiquette are still necessary courtesies even today. Although etiquette may be deemed superfluous and cumbersome in today’s contemporary world, it is one that defines our behavior as human and humane. Ms. Arlene Abiera, our teacher, taught us that etiquette is as much common sense as accepted standards of behavior and that when in doubt, the Golden Rule should serve as our ethical compass. “Do unto others what you would have them do to you” is a concept that clearly illustrates that how we expect others to behave is dependent on reciprocity or how we behave towards others.
From a brief course on social etiquette, we were ushered into communication lessons in the afternoon. John Robert Powers prides itself in producing well-rounded individuals and forefront in this mission is the goal of fostering communication skills. Be it through traditional English lessons that focus on form and grammar or through applications in writing, speech, and conversations, lessons in the English Learning Program are structured for easy learning and relevant practice.
Mr. Francis Leocadio took us through breathing exercises and their rationale, pitch, intonation, and tone lessons, as well as pronunciation drills. Most of the lessons were practical and required each one of us to step up and practice in front of the others. The young ones, as expected, took to the drills like fish in water, while some of the older folks had to be gently reshaped in their manner of speaking. As one who has spoken and written in English almost all my life, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did learn new things that day. One of these is the first thing I do each morning; these days, my kids wake up to me practicing breathing from the diaphragm and repeating this like a mantra, “One by one they went away. One by one and two by two they went away,” and so on and so forth. 🙂
The classes I attended were simply two of the many in personality development courses that John Robert Powers offers. These courses cater to a wide range of ages and experience levels. Although programs work on a multi-level curriculum system, they are also tailor made to fit a person’s requirements and circumstances. As such, there is something for everyone, be it the very young (the 60-hour Future Leaders Program for children aged four to six), those who have achieved more in life (Executive and Corporate Programs), and even those who simply want to be the best versions of themselves (Teens Workshops, English Learning Program, Dynamic Parenting Workshop, among others). If long-term courses do not necessarily fit your budget or schedule, short courses are also available for the interested learner.
If there’s anything this experience taught me, it is that one is never too old to learn. And at John Robert Powers, they make learning possible through a lot of real work but also a lot of fun.
For more information, please visit the John Robert Powers website or Facebook page. Look for the branch nearest you and call: Alabang (01-659 0052), Makati (02-892 9511), and Quezon City (02-927 0465).