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Redesigned UK school rethinks how to teach

A London-based English language school, which is part of a small school group, has redesigned its central London school with a focus on communication and digital innovation, confident its extensive facelift will result in more satisfied customers and ensure it is future-proofing its offer to its modern clientele of mostly young adults.

The redesigned school considers how the design of the classroom and use of digital technology informs learning

The company has been working directly with Apple on how to use its hardware within an educational learning environment

Language in London, part of the Language In Group, will monitor feedback from its clients and partner agents and take its redesign – which has digital learning at the heart of its ethos – to sister schools in Totnes, south England and Dublin, Ireland within the next six months.

“We want to teach our students skills for communication in the real world,” explained Director, Stuart Rubenstein. “We’re obsessed with the impact that environment has on learning.”

Each classroom is equipped with Apple TV and one entire wall that doubles as a whiteboard. Rubenstein observed that interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are not necessarily authentic learning tools, given that many of their clients will not use IWBs when back in their home countries.

Cosmopolitan adult students increasingly expect a high-calibre professional environment

Instead, dynamic lesson programming will encourage students to use their iPads and stream films they have made to the rest of their class via Apple TV, for example. The company has been working directly with Apple on how to use its hardware within an educational learning environment. Most lessons will require an iPad, which can be loaned to those without one.

Spending £15,000 per classroom on a top-to-toe facelift for the building, the Language In Group used an architect who planned each individual classroom to be unique and ensure a collaborative learning style.

“We teach people who are communicating in the 21st century but many classrooms feel like something from the 1980s,” said Rubenstein, pointing out that cosmopolitan adult students (the school teaches upmarket internationals as well as foreign languages to locals working in the city) increasingly expect a high-calibre professional environment.

“We need to prepare them to use [languages] in the real world, which is one of connectivity.”

Language In London is joining the trailblazers among the ELT world who are investing heavily into digital delivery and dynamic classrooms. Another is CCEL in Vancouver, Canada, which launched its SMRT curriculum two years ago.

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