BCTC offers English language classes at Winchester campus

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Adult Education instructors at Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Winchester campus are looking for interested people to take part in the school’s English Language Acquisition (ELA) course beginning Aug. 15.

BCTC’s ELA program was designed to help people who do not speak English as their primary language to get a basic understanding so they have improved access to education and job opportunities.

According to Adult Education Program Coordinator Jason Dailey, the program is free, and it doesn’t matter what level of mastery — if any — the person has.

“You can come in and not know a single word, and begin straight off the bat,” Dailey said.

He said in its current form, the ELA program in Winchester only offers instruction on English skills. There is not a civics component to the class as there is at some other BCTC locations. However, the program does focus on basic practical skills like reading street signs, asking for directions, talking with a medical professional and ordering off a menu.

The course will be offered from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the BCTC Winchester campus. The classes are completely free, with materials provided by the school. Participants must be 18 or older.

“We thought it would be better for individual students that work during the day,” Dailey said. “That way they could get some class time in the evening to help them improve their English and maybe get a better placement with their job.”

The class is taught by instructor Rob Rister, who taught himself Spanish and uses his second language and understanding of the challenges of becoming bilingual to help students.

Participants also have the option of transitioning after ELA courses to studying for a GED or into postsecondary education, if they wish.

Dailey said the school had three students who received English language assistance last year, but he hopes to expand that number in the new school year.

One of the students was Tina Polchinski, Who wanted to sharpen her English skills after traveling the world with her husband, who is a U.S. citizen.

She said she wanted to get her GED, but her English was not good enough.

She said the work Dailey and Rister have done with her has been fantastic.

“They really have patience,” Polchinski said. “They see a lot of different people from different backgrounds and they have to have patience to teach them.”

Now, Polchinski is only one test away from getting her GED.

To sign up for the ELA course, Dailey said participants can register by calling 859-744-1975, stopping in to room 114 at BCTC or just coming by the class when it begins.