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267 Education: International and language schools


Learning the


language of life The SKOLA group places global significance on the teaching of English


(EFL) courses for more than four decades, language teaching has a higher goal. “A shared language encourages a shared culture, which is central to solving the world’s problems,” says Ben Toettcher, Director of SKOLA. Based on values of freedom, respect and tolerance,


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the group’s English language schools and colleges have been teaching adults, teens and children since 1970. “Global trade was established in Great Britain,” says Toettcher, “and we believe that global communication is the foundation of lasting peace and trade.” To this end, SKOLA—at six schools accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English—welcomed students from 100 countries in 2014.


A pioneering teaching style Ben Toettcher is the son of the organisation’s founders, Niels Toettcher (an English-language teacher) and Ann Alexander (a mainstream English teacher), who combined their respective experiences to contribute to a growing body of evidence-based pedagogy. “My parents were at the forefront of a group of educators,” he says. “Te new pedagogy in English language that they developed placed value on the individual within society.” Niels and Ann started out teaching English to a Greek waiter


and his family. Now the SKOLA group includes the International Community School (ICS), an independent London school for ages three to 18 where students work towards the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, a gold standard in education. It also includes two boarding schools: Alexanders College, a secondary school in Suffolk; and Newland College, a secondary IB school in Buckinghamshire. SKOLA is proud of its ability to harness new technology,


which is evident in its outdoor English language courses. Discover London, which was praised by the British Council, holds classes on the streets of London. Te first lesson happens in a tube station and students stay up-to-date and submit assignments via Facebook. SKOLA has also pioneered a classroom design based


ccording to SKOLA, a schools group that has been running academic and English as a Foreign Language


on a round-table format. Using technology that is embedded around the room, it aims to inspire visible learning and discussion. “Innovation really has the power to inspire students,” says Toettcher. Combining timeless pedagogical principles and modern


technology, SKOLA continues to pioneer teaching techniques. Although its original mission is based on the ancient democratic values that have been shaped for many centuries in the English language, SKOLA is looking firmly to the future through its connection with students in London and across the globe. — www.skola.co.uk


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