Creating a caring and relaxed learning environment in which each language learner feels wanted, feels appreciated and feels inspired to learn is part of the ethos of the Academy of English. Our professional English language trainers set the tone in the lessons that they deliver. This is complimented by the classroom spatial setting and its design, something we call “classroom architecture” at the Academy of English. Classroom architecture is how we arrange and organize the classroom setting in which we deliver our lessons.
Time and time again, research has demonstrated that the design and layout of a classroom significantly affects academic performance and achievement. Bearing such research in mind, the Academy of English has created inspiring centres of learning within each and every classroom, seminar room and lecture room to reflect different types of learners, different age groups and different language goals.
In decorating each room, we have paid close attention to detail: from the furniture and its placement in the room to the colour combinations around the Academy; from world clocks to portraits of key historical figures; from letters from supporters from the Academy to its certifications. The plethora of English-language material at our disposal, displayed on the walls, means that visitors to the Academy of English say farewell to their native-speaking German world and say hello to an inspiring and full-of-life English-speaking environment. What we have created, therefore, is something resembled a “cultural island”.
All of our teaching rooms are named after countries, but not just for the sake of them. As an institution, we are proud to present countries whose diplomatic and governmental representations or national institutions have been forthcoming in supporting the endeavours of the Academy of English to promote their countries. Take our New Zealand Room, for instance: The New Zealand ambassador sent the head coach of the New Zealand Rugby Team in Germany to officially open our room at a special event celebrating New Zealand sports at the Academy in June 2013. We are fortunate to have the support of Education Arm of the New Zealand Embassy, who have kindly contributed to the decoration of the room with a huge donation of posters, maps and print-based material.
Creating such country centres within the Academy of English has done much to advance awareness and understanding of both English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries. Our flagship China Room was officially opened by Mrs. Liu Jingyi, the Director of the Confucius Institute in Groningen, in July 2013. Celebrating the handover of English-speaking Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China, the China Room celebrates all things Chinese: from Chinese painting by Wang Shljun to Chinese porcelain from central China. It is kindly supported by the Gesellschaft für Deutsch-Chinesische Freundschaft, which often donates books to its growing English-language collection on China. The China Room also recognizes that learners of English are increasingly going to come into contact with Chinese speakers of English, especially given that more people are learning English as a Foreign Language in China than any other place in the world.
It is, however, not just about furniture and furnishing. The Academy of English is well aware that information technology is dramatically changing our lives and is having impacts on how individuals and groups study. We are not averse to technologies in the classroom; on the contrary: The Academy of English embraces it. Not only are classrooms equipped with computers and laptops; but we also have interactive whiteboards which enhance lessons with audio-visual material and imagery.
We look forward to welcoming you to our “cultural island”.