From hanging out with Patrick Swayze as a dancer for Universal Studio's 10th anniversary of Dirty Dancing, and dancing in a VH1 special for the 20-year anniversary of Grease to winning the United Country Western Dance Council World Championship's Jack & Jill competition three times?Brian Wong has accomplished a lot in his 20-year career. Throughout these experiences, though, it's his ability to turn dancing novices into confident dancers that has given him the most pride. In service of this passion, Brian founded Chicago Dance Factory, where he and a team of instructors lead dance classes at spacious locations scattered throughout the greater Chicagoland area. Brian's teaching philosophy emphasizes syncing students' bodies with the so-called "heartbeat" of the music before they attempt any patterns or steps. Using this unique rhythm-based philosophy, Chicago Dance Factory's instructors teach students various dancing styles?ranging from pop-infused West Coast swing to elegant ballroom?that can be unleashed during a night out, at weddings, or in dance-infused gang fights.
The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.
A Chicago Tribune reporter visiting a Stepping Into Etiquette class admitted that students seemed reluctant at first. "But less than an hour later, somewhere between delivering a firm handshake and choosing the right fork, the 8- to 12-year-olds began smiling, raising their hands to be called on, and begging to help set a proper table in a meeting room at the Naperville Public Library."
The company has also appeared in publications such as Chicago Parent, but the classes are not just for youngsters. There are also sessions for professionals, who can often use a crash course in fundamental etiquette such as eye contact, a firm handshake, and what food is appropriate to juggle. As the Tribune reporter noted, all of the courses are intended to be fun. The school has brought that entertaining spirit to classes for a wide range of organizations, from the Girl Scouts to Barbizon Modeling and Acting School to Chicago State University.
Featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, BenchPrep's educational network prepares students to undertake difficult exams with confidence through innovative and interactive online content. Students can enlist in a field of study from BenchPrep's courses, forged with the aid of McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Wiley, and photocopies of Athena's classroom cheat sheets, to gain access to the site's comprehensive content, reporting, and score-analysis tools. Students cultivate their academic knowledge with content-specific reading material, videos, notes, bookmarks, customizable quizzes, and practice tests.
BenchPrep's innovative cross-platform technology allows online students to begin their studies on a web-based computer and continue their lessons in transit via iPhone, Android, or iPad. Lesson plans can also be downloaded to a smartphone device through the BenchPrep app to facilitate on-the-go learning without an Internet connection, handy for studying in signal-destroying subways or while time traveling to pre-WiFi locales. Upon completion, students receive a digital completion certificate.
Understanding that each child learns differently, the staff members of Sylvan Learning’s numerous study centers design custom lesson programs. Based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews, the staff works with students to help them firmly grasp basic skills such as reading, writing, math, and how to remember facts without tattooing them to their chests. Programs target students in kindergarten through grade 12 and mold to various learning styles, helping kids feel more comfortable in the classroom. Afterschool or summer classes can ready high-school students for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students wow college-admissions officers with their superior writing skills, exemplary test scores, and willingness to arm-wrestle the school mascot.
Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.