Saturday, July 24, 2010

Interview with Ken Jones at Maximo Nivel

About Maximo Nivel
Ken Jones started Maximo Nivel in Cusco in 2003 and since then they have expanded to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and the US. Teachers are able to work and travel around nearby countries in Latin America.

Many people take TEFL certificate to help them get into TEFL. There are a couple TEFL Training Institutes in Peru. One of them in Maximo Nivel in Cusco. Ken Jones, the owner, has provided The Ultimate Peru List with the following information.

TEFL / TESOL Program
Their program is accredited with the Peruvian Ministry of Education and with Assentis in the UK. This is a 150 hour on-site program with 8+ hours of teaching and observations. Cost is $1600 for the 4 week course; plus housing and books. They are partnered with the following organizations for TEFL/TESOL: Bridge Linguatec, INTESOL, TEFL Institute, ITTO, EBC, and Global Crossroad. They also have two other options.
  1. A hybrid TEFL/TESOL Program, which is 2-4 weeks of self-study followed by 2 weeks on-site. 
  2. An online / distance learning TEFL Program, which is done via Skype and (unlike other online programs) includes 6 hours of practical teaching via Skype—these are 1-on-1 lessons with Peruvians and Guatemalans.

ESL Teaching
Their teachers must be TEFL / TESOL or CELTA certified via a course of at least 100 hours and which included a practical teaching component. Minimum contract is 6 months. Teachers must be native English speakers. There are a limited number of positions where TEFL/TESOL certified non-native English speakers can work as tutors. They generally hire 5-6 teachers per month. With respect to their contracts, they do not have a non-competition clause. There are various bits of mis-information on Dave’s.

They do not pay teachers hourly—they receive a fixed monthly salary. In Peru the salary is $450 - $600; in Costa Rica the salary is $690 - $800; and in Guatemala the salary is $450 - $600. Teachers teach six (6) 1-hour classes/day. Teachers can earn more if they choose to teach a 7th or 8th class, though this never required.

Their ESL program in Peru has 1200 learners and a staff of 20 teachers; their ESL program in Costa Rica is 150 learners and a staff of 6 teachers; their ESL program in Guatemala will begin in January 2011. Class size is strictly limited in Peru to 12 learners; in Costa Rica to 8 learners; and in Guatemala to 12 learners. They have a full in-house developed teachers’ guide and curriculum, books, and all quizzes and exams are standardized by the institute.They  have a 2 hour in-house teacher training each month.

In Peru, they have a large Teachers’ Lounge with dedicated computers, Internet and WiFi, satellite TV, lock-able cubbies, 2 refrigerators, bottled water, and teachers-only bathroom. In Costa Rica, they have a small Teachers’ Lounge with dedicated computers, Internet and WiFi and lock-able cubbies. In Guatemala, they have a small Teachers’ Lounge with dedicated computers, Internet and WiFi, cable TV, lock-able cubbies, refrigerator, and bottled water.

They offer volunteer and internship projects in all 3 countries. These last for as little as 1 week and as long as 1 year. Most people are with us for 2-4 weeks, and the average stay is 3.3 weeks. They are partnered with the following organizations: IVHQ, Global Crossroad, IFRE, RCDP, Bridge Volunteers, GVN, and Rustic Volunteer & Travel. They offer projects in the following areas:
  • Orphanage / Childcare
  • Medical / Healthcare
  • Conservation
  • Construction
  • Teaching English

Native Spanish Program
Their Native Spanish Program is accredited by the Ministries of Education in both Peru and Guatemala. As well, Brookhaven College in the U.S. and Universidad Rural in Guatemala provide university credit for our Spanish program. They are partnered with the following organizations: Tucan Travel, LanguageCourse.Net, and 121 Speech.

Classes are offered in small group (max 6 people) and 1-on-1. Teachers are all native Spanish speakers and are certified in teaching Spanish as a second language OR hold a Bachelors or Masters in Education.

They have a program called Adventure & Culture which combines 1-4 weeks of Spanish with various tourism programs that clients do on the weekends—to see the sites in Peru, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.

Contact Information

Maximo Nivel
Del Antiguo Higueron 100m sur y 50m este
San Pedro Montes de Oca
San Jose
Telephone: +506 2253 9220

Maximo Nivel
6ta Avenida 16-16A
La Antigua
Telephone: +502 7932 1500

Maximo Nivel
Avenida El Sol 612-616
Telephone: +51 (84) 58 1800

Other Information
Maximo Nivel is no longer associated with Chris Larsen in Arequipa. Chris has his institute called Extreme Superior English Alliance. He began in Arequipa as a Maximo Nivel franchise. They parted ways amicably in early 2008. Their institutes are no longer related.


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