An illustration of two people sitting on an oversized book with the planet Earth between them.
Illustration by Maggie Wood.

Kellogg Community College is offering nine English Language Learning classes this fall for students who wish to further their knowledge in the English language.

The college launched a series of intermediate and advanced ELL classes last fall and added three introductory level classes in January. All levels of the four-credit classes are designed to help students improve their English language skills across categories including reading and writing, grammar and communication, and speaking and listening.

English professor Elyse Jozlin, who teaches many of the classes, said she realized a need for KCC to offer such classes because many students needed assistance with language skills, but there weren’t many resources available.

“I started an English Language Learning study table to assist students and quickly realized that KCC really needed to have ELL classes,” Jozlin said. “The study table was a short-term solution.”

Jozlin said the classes are beneficial to anyone who wishes to further their knowledge of the English language, and also helpful for anyone who wishes to study further at KCC or transfer to a university.

An inclusive environment

KCC hosted an English Language Learning Open House at the Burma Center on April 13 to further reach out to the community and inform more people about the classes, a special scholarship opportunity and to help make community connections with the KCC ELL staff.

“The open house turnout was exciting,” Jozlin said. “About 25 prospective students were there, and four students applied to the college on the spot. We were able to answer their questions and explain what the ELL courses entail.”

Events like the open house are all a part of Jozlin’s plan to make a culture at KCC where the community knows who to go to for more information about ELL courses.

Roderick Simmons, manager of Recruitment and Student Outreach at KCC, was also at the open house and plays a key role helping ELL students with the admissions process.

“We’re trying to strengthen our communication within the community and actually have distinct faces and people to work with these students,” Simmons said. “Our goal is for the students to feel comfortable, feel welcome, and that KCC is an inclusive environment.”

Simmons said ELL classes are a wonderful opportunity but that it can be intimidating for some students coming to campus knowing there’s a language barrier, so it’s important for the faculty to meet the students at their needs and diligently work with the students to get them to the point of taking ELL classes.

“When you think about KCC, community is our middle name, and we really want to create access and provide greater opportunity for those who live in our community,” Simmons said. “If we don’t do this, we are doing an injustice to the community that we exist in. Being a part of this we are really focusing on what are our community needs and how we can develop and strengthen our community to be thriving. That means everyone in the community matters, everyone belongs here, and how do we get them the skill set they need to do well.”

Classes for everyone

Esther Nai, from Myanmar, is currently an ELL student who is taking the classes to improve her English and vocabulary with the goal of becoming a social worker.

“By studying English, I will better understand my communication with others,” Nai said. “Making friends and having small class sizes is beneficial. Taking this class will help me with reading and writing.”

Another ELL student, Nataliia Stoliarska, from Ukraine, is taking the classes to further her English skills and plans to finish her nursing coursework and work as a nurse or physical assistant in the future.

“I like these classes,” Stoliarska said. “The useful part of the classes are the many practical tasks, interesting dialogues and information. I finally started to write in English.”

Jozlin said ELL classes offered at KCC truly are for everyone. It doesn’t matter what language students speak or how old they are; the classes are helpful to anyone who wishes to further their knowledge of the English language.

According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, learning other languages supports academic achievement, provides many cognitive benefits to the students and helps develop a more positive attitude toward the target language and/or speakers of that language.

Within the surrounding community there are other opportunities for learning the English language at Voces and the Burma Center.

“They are great organizations, and the classes they offer are great for students who are beginning to study English,” Jozlin said. “KCC’s classes are great for students who have outgrown the coursework at the Burma Center and Voces. KCC’s classes also prepare students for college if that is a path they want to take.”

Jozlin wants students to know that KCC’s ELL classes are small, the atmosphere is warm, inviting and encouraging, and that the classes will be challenging yet feasible.

For more information about ELL classes at KCC, visit