By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On March 1st, the new English language school – One English – celebrated their opening in the heart of Ipanema. Launched by Englishman Robin Ward, and Brazilian Paola Castilho Dunham, the school is unique in the sense that the majority of its English teachers are British nationals who teach the Common European Framework syllabus, internationally recognized and relevant regardless of age and objective.
Alongside Ward and Dunham is a handpicked team of highly trained professionals with extensive experience in Rio’s teaching industry, enabling One English to provide customized student support. Robin Ward explains: “We are interested in quality not quantity and we have courses for everyone.”
Teacher and fellow Briton Jason Dunham believes that the school´s winning combination stems from its tailor made approach, combined with the team’s collective knowledge and understanding, that distinguishes it from the competition. Dunham states: “Here we are completely focused on the students needs, whether that student is two and a half or 65 years old.”
Paola Castilho Dunham is skilled in introducing children to English, specializing in infants (from two and a half to six-year-olds) using dynamic, project based topics. “We gently coax the children in to learning English via games and fairy stories which we then build on with new vocabulary related to that story or game,” said Dunham.
Aside from this the school provides a unique extracurricular program, aimed at helping children become comfortable speaking English, by means of theatrical based methods. The course, appropriately titled ‘123 Action,’ helps children lose their inhibitions through drama which taps in to their love of pretense and naturally vivid imaginations.
Dunham describes: “The atmosphere in the class is really fun and we film the students acting out their role plays and play it back for the whole class at the end of the lesson.”
In other areas, Jason Dunham specializes in preparing young adults to take international examinations in English such as the merited Cambridge University CPE. He maintains that the school is focused on nurturing young minds and giving them the opportunity of a brighter future at prestigious universities and global companies.
Robin Ward proudly emphasizes this by adding: “One of our students was recently accepted in to Stanford University – the first Brazilian ever to achieve this.”
Bright, welcoming classrooms set the scene for learning with group sizes increasing to no more than six people per lesson, allowing for greater individual focus and assistance.
However, not everyone needs to attend a classroom-based lesson and for that reason One English has developed alternative options for students who would prefer a simple, one-on-one interaction to simply help improve and maintain their conversational English.
The ‘Cup of Tea’ is a half-hour class that takes place in the school’s comfortable cafe where students can practice conversation with a teacher in a natural setting. Similarly, ‘Time to Talk,’ is a one-hour conversation class with the same aim.
Ward explains: “These social interaction courses are a great way for people to maintain and further progress their English as well as making them feel relaxed and ‘at home’.”
Having been open for just one month, the school has already attracted a lot of interest which is only set to increase. School secretary Suzana Curi Sullivan is confident that One English will be a huge success. “The students are always satisfied, anyone who comes here once, always comes back.”
The One English school is located on Rua Barão de Jaguaripe, 97, Ipanema. For more information and a list of upcoming courses and availability, call (21) 2267-6146 or (21) 8478-0169.