Post Classifieds

College provides free English courses

By Paige Gerjets
On April 12, 2016

Kirkwood Community College offers a wide range of classes from glass blowing to forensic science but at the Kirkwood Center for Lifelong Learning there is program dedicated to offering free English learning courses to anyone who needs them. The only requirements are being an adult and taking a nationally standardized test to see where a student needs to be placed in the program. In its previous session the program saw 100 active students and is seeing a steady increase in enrollment.  

The classes help students bring their English learning skills to par with a high school level, allowing students get a high diploma from Kirkwood and go on to higher education or to enter the workforce. Barbara Shreve, ESL instructor and program coordinator, stated it is important this program is offered for free. “Many students are refugees and just struggling to get by, some come to ESL just to attain a livable wage and at times it’s difficult to just have bus fare,” she said. The students involved in the class are highly motivated, passionate and eager to learn, Shreve said. She added the classes are amazing to teach with such an active classroom.

The classes are part of Kirkwood’s High School Completion Programs and contain a large population of refugees and those seeking asylum in the U.S. “ESL is a very misleading term. It means English as a Second Language but many students already come to us with four or five languages from their own countries,” said Shreve. Some students must completely learn new skills such as reading and writing, even holding a pen or pencil can be a new experience for them, according to Shreve. 

The course offers a fully immersive learning experience, with the wide variety of native languages all questions the students have must be asked in English and if something doesn’t sense the entire class comes together to figure it out, said Shreve. Shreve said she and the Kirkwood Lifelong Learning Center are making an effort to better the lives of those who were forced to run away from their old ones and those looking to gain back what they once had.  

Shreve has has been working in the ESL field for more than 10 years. Shreve said, “I used to live in Fort Wayne, Ind., and we had a very large refugee community from Burma and there was a call for volunteers and training for tutoring and I got so involved in it.”  In 2003 Shreve moved to Iowa and quit her position as administrative assistant and began classes at the University of Iowa studying linguistics and earned a bachelor degree in education in 2006.  “[Teaching] had so much more meaning to me,” she said. 

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

More kirkwoodstudentmedia News Articles

Recent kirkwoodstudentmedia News Articles

Discuss This Article



Online VS Paper


Kirkwood students often admire Lasik Omaha doctors that are carving new paths in the field of eye care and transforming the way routine eye procedures are done.

Log In

or Create an account

Employers & Housing Providers

Employers can list job opportunities for students

Post a Job

Housing Providers can list available housing

Post Housing

Log In

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Please Select Your College/University:

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format