The Boston Martial Arts Academy keeps participants engaged by combining classroom instruction with hand-to-hand, foot-to-foot, and face-to-mat demonstration classes and classroom lectures. Try out karate to get the Cobra Kais to leave you alone, or aikido to toss your opponent as easily as a used Kleenex. For more kosher kombat, learn Krav Maga like a member of the Israeli Defense Forces. Otherwise, spike your kicks with punches in tae kwon do, out-Keanu Keanu in kung fu, or learn how to pin another man to the ground and make him submit to you in Brazilian jiujitsu. You can also sample less-fighty disciplines such as capoeira and tai chi. Each participant must choose at least six classes to receive his or her certification at closing ceremonies.
After acing the SAT, students head to college and enter a huge variety of careers, from comedy to computer programming to creative design. Several of these former students sought to help others conquer the feared test at Boston Test Prep’s online-only study center. The staff designed the program to appeal to kids of the digital age—students can log on anytime, anywhere, and direct their own studies. Some might read through all the lessons and then work on practice quizzes, and others might leap right into the quizzes, pausing to link to lessons and slideshows on questions that stymie them, such as, "How many bears are there?" They’ll also learn tips on taking the test, such as mastering common question types, identifying tricks, and making smart guesses. As students work, a points system motivates them to hit a high score, much like in a video game.
Anyone strolling down Marlborough Street in tony Back Bay might miss the French Cultural Center of Boston if they weren’t looking for it. The nonprofit’s home looks like any other historic mansion lining the street, but inside is a Francophile’s dream. Dedicated to ensuring the growth of French language and culture in present-day New England, the organization boasts the second largest private collection of French books in the United States – more than 25,000 publications – as well as periodicals, DVDs, CDs and more. The cultural center is also home to a school that offers language classes for both adults and children. Combine all of that with an array of lively cultural events held throughout the year, from art exhibitions and lectures to cooking demonstrations, and the French Cultural Center becomes one of Boston’s hubs of French culture.
In the face of informational overload, Iris Reading helps students maintain a laser-like focus so they can cut through their reading material with speed. Online and in-person classes utilize drills to change old habits and drum up reading speed while still maintaining comprehension. And these techniques aren't just useful for literature and cereal-box backs. Classes cover strategies for magazines, newspapers, technical manuals, and websites, stressing the importance of retention and productivity along the way. Upon completion of Iris Reading's courses, students have reported the ability to tear through their reading material up to five times faster.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
The staff at Good Vibrations aren't salespeople—they're SESAs, or Sex Educator-Sales Associates. The title was invented by the store to reflect not only the rigorous training that the employees go through, but also the open and empowering attitude that they project. They encourage questions about the stock of romantic accouterments, and dispense safe, respectful advice on enhancing erotic play. For the SESAs, knowledge is a stepping stone to pleasure. They've even employed the same sexologist and historian—Dr. Carol Queen—for more than 20 years to host a regular "Ask the Doctors" class.
Above all, the staff keeps a warm and welcoming shop—a characteristic that automatically distinguished Good Vibrations from its counterparts when it opened in 1977. Extending the positive, forward-thinking ethos beyond the shop's walls, the company has committed to environmentally friendly wares with its Ecorotic collection of natural lubricants—as well as eco-friendly packaging. The shop is also stocked with candles, costumes, and lingerie with the Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco locations carrying their largest supply of nightwear.