Business Times of Edmond, Oklahoma August 2018 - Page 17

Jamie Watts, English Language Center director, said the bright red door outside the English Language Center helps new students find the location. Watts said the English Language Center has a family-like atmosphere complete with fun outings and planned celebrations. “Who’s going to care about your birthday when you’re overseas? We are. We care deeply about making the students feel at home when they come here,” she said. Students also have the chance to enjoy cultural outings to places like the Science Museum and Frontier City. “We all take them to the medieval fair every year, and it’s kind of goofy,” Watts said. “A lot of them really, really love it here in Oklahoma because everyone is so nice. Our location is convenient. We’re 20 minutes from the airport. We are surrounded by goods and services. People are just friendly in Edmond.” Every student who attends the English Language Center starts with a pre-screening test to determine what “level” they’ll start at in the program. The test measures skills like grammar usage and listening comprehension. Watts also makes an effort to document their goals before they begin classes. “Sometimes, I remind them about their goals if they miss a day or two or if they are discouraged,” Watts said. “Most of the kids we have now are dedicated, very dedicated.” The program also offers a class called academic connections that teaches basic study skills like skimming and scanning content and how to study for finals. “If they’re not in class or in school, I’ll call them and ask where they are. Sometimes, they just need a ride to school or if it is another problem, then we help them work through it. We teach them how important it is to attend class and how to communicate with teachers or the administration if they have an issue,” Watts said. “I ask almost all of our students if they’ve completed English composition yet because writing tends to be the hardest skill to master, and it’s very unusual for them not to be making an A or B.” International students who do not speak fluent English must first pass an exam signifying they are prepared for the classroom setting before being accepted into an American college. Some students who do not pass may have the option to attend a 12-week program at English Language Center to sharpen their skills before enrollment. Some universities and colleges will recognize the additional coursework as an equivalent of passing the final exam. The English Language Center is nationally accredited and approved by the Oklahoma Board of Regents for Higher Education, which conducts regular audits of the program. “The accreditation and the approval means we can offer an early college admission program for state universities that participate in it,” Watts said. “If you’re wanting to learn English as a second language, whether it be for personal, professional or educational reasons, we will help you,” said Watts. To learn more about the English Language Center visit www.elcok.com. Online applications are also available at www.elcok.com/apply/. August 2018 | The Business Times 17