Bootcamp offers help to those in English courses

Bootcamp offers help to those in English courses

Monday, August 05, 2013

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Steve Koehler
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Jennifer Dunkel insists on preparing students for their next English class instead of just passing them along without the necessary skills to take the class.

As a result, the OTC instructor has developed an English boot camp that helps incoming students prepare for testing to see what level of English instruction suits them best.

For four days, Dunkel puts students through some quick and intense "mental jumping jacks," reviewing everything from punctuation and spelling to grammar and writing, in an effort to prepare them for the COMPASS placement test that determines their English skill level.

"It's for new students out of high school or those who have been out of the classroom for a decade. We cover 30-40 topics in four days and on the fifth day, they take the COMPASS test to determine their English skill level," she said.

"The class is supposed to be a review and if it feels like a review, you're in the right place. If it feels brand new, maybe you need a developmental class."

Kristina Elrick, who took Dunkel's class, said the course was helpful because she didnít like English. She tested out to the English 040 class but after the boot camp course, she was qualified for English 101. She took English 050 first and then English 101. She got As in both the classes.

"I needed the refresher of basic English since I hate English," said Elrick, who is taking classes at OTC in the fall and plans to become an elementary teacher.

She said the testing skills she learned in Dunkel's class has helped her take tests in other classes.

Dunkel, who will be teaching a new session starting today, said of the 35 who have taken the course, 20 have earned a C or better in the English course they've taken after her class.

She said students who came in disliking English finished the class appreciating the opportunity to see what their skill level actually was.

"A student told me the class knocked the rust off their brain. One day, I hope this is the kind of class that is offered year-round. I am not teaching for the COMPASS test. I teach for them to be successful in the next class," she said.

"Students come out of the class with confidence that that's why their score is higher."