Interview with Director of Hills Learning, 11-05-13
Interview with Jon Hills, Director of Hills Learning. The interview was done by Rolls Andre on 11-05-13, who is responsible for Hills Learning Facebook, and is also an instructor at Hills Learning.
1.When and most importantly why did you start Hills Learning?
– Hills Learning was started in January 2009, a tough time for business but a great opportunity for students looking to learn language and choose a new career path. Hills Learning was started because there wasn’t a school in New York that focused solely on the Asian languages. I wanted to develop a unique program to teach Asian languages effectively, which is where the teaching method SWIRL came from. I had also lived in Japan for four years and was engaged to a half Japanese person, so learning Asian languages was a personal as well as business pursuit of mine.
2. What difficulties have you run into over the years?
- Retaining the best talent and best teachers I would say is a challenge for any business. This year we decided to make all our teachers employees, and develop a more thorough and ongoing training program and workshops so that teachers will really enjoy working for Hills Learning and grow with the organization. It is also being a language school in New York difficult to get the word out above all your competition, but we’re expanding to use other forms of social media and also reach out to local newspapers to get the word out further about our programs.
3. Where do you see Hills Learning in five years? Ten years?
- Good question Rolls! Right now our new offering is online lessons, and we’ve had a variety of students (group, private, etc) interested in taking classes through an online platform through the computer instead of face to face. So I definitely see this growing, eventually our offerings will reach internationally and we’ll have group classes online with people living in Asia taking classes with students from America, etc.
So in 5 years, we’ll be offering more comprehensive classes online. We’ll also expand our offerings to teach kids more lessons instead of just adults, and probably have another branch in another city (besides Chicago and New York).
In 10 years, we could possibly open a branch internationally. This will help our students who are learning Asian languages, so when they visit these countries they can take classes from us right in the host country. Our Asian branches will also help our New York branch by coordinating ESL programs for students to study in New York.
4. Who does your amazing Facebook marketing? They are obviously very talented and artistic.
- ROLLS ANDRE, he’s been doing a great job, getting adjusted to using various platforms of social media and developing his expertise in Asian languages and cultures. He also has a great sense of humor!
5. If I were someone looking to take language lessons, why should I try Hills Learning?
- We’re serious about language education, and providing the right tools for students to succeed in our classes. We spend lots of time recruiting the right teachers, developing the correct curriculum, and overall our students come first. I hope any student that contacts us sees this through our customer service and attention we pay to each student.
We’re happiest when we build relationships of successful language learning, and I love to hear the success stories that some of our students have when they’ve learned languages through us. It keeps me going!