“One of the greatest strengths of the program is that each student has a customized plan of study.”
Midwest City, Okla. – In a classroom designed for 30 students, there is standing room only when English as a Second Language classes are in session. Professors Antoinette Castillo and Chris Knox had thought of starting the ESL program at Rose State for years. Their idea finally came to fruition in August 2013 when the ESL Learning Program opened its doors to their first students. The main goal of the program is to help non-native English speakers be successful in their course work at Rose State College. However, the majority of those partaking in the ESL classes are not Rose State students. Professor Castillo said, “We wanted to open up the classes to the community because that’s really in the spirit of Rose State.”
The students, who are predominantly from the Middle East, Asia, Russia, Turkey, and Spanish speaking countries, hear about the program through word of mouth from others who have taken the classes or their families. Classes meet in the evenings, Monday-Thursday. Students can attend one or all of the sessions each week. Castillo said, “One of the greatest strengths of the program is that each student has a customized plan of study.” Instruction is individualized with one-to-one teaching by experienced faculty. Each of the instructors are tenured reading and writing professors at Rose State College who are passionate about improving all students’ reading and writing skills. Professor Castillo has a long background of teaching English as a Second Language. She earned one of her master’s degrees in teaching ESL and was formerly the principal of the English Language Center out of Edmond.
Some past students have been professionals in their country of origin and take English as a Second Language to prepare for U.S. licensing exams in areas including Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmaceuticals. Others utilize the ESL classes for preparation to speak English in the workplace or to pass English exams such as TOEFL and COMPASS for entry into colleges and universities.
The start-up and ability to provide the classes at no cost is due in part to a $14,000 grant received from Dollar General to pay for supplies for students.
About Rose State College:
Rose State College is a community college offering more than 60 degree and skilled-occupational programs conveniently located seven minutes from downtown Oklahoma City. www.rose.edu