Writtten by the Burlington English Marketing and Editorial Team
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, several programs across Minnesota had the opportunity to pilot BurlingtonCore, a new fully blended, 100 percent web-based curriculum from BurlingtonEnglish. These pilot teachers were already familiar with the online platform, complete with ready-made lesson plans, interactive standards-based instruction, and online independent student work to reinforce learning.
JennaRose Dahl, BurlingtonEnglish Customer Manager, has been working closely with the Minnesota pilot teachers to help them continue using BurlingtonCore in a virtual setting. She recently coordinated a virtual discussion group with several of these teachers to discuss the impact that BurlingtonCore is having on classroom instruction and student learning.
It was exciting to hear each of the teachers share their experiences teaching with this new online course. Several teachers admitted that they had been reluctant to teach with technology, but once they started using BurlingtonCore, their opinion changed.
Who’s who in the Minnesota Burlington Core Discussion Group
Karen Hatlestad, Low Beginning ELL Teacher, and Jaine King, Pre-Beginning ELL Teacher, Vietnamese Social Services
Angela Donlon, ELL Teacher, Owatonna Adult Learning Center Kiana Erickson, Blended Learning ESL Teacher, Literacy Minnesota
Doretta Meier, ELL Teacher | Valerie Knopp, ELL Teacher | Naomi Lundgren, ELL Teacher, St. Cloud Area School District 742
Nina Rasmussen, ELL Teacher, Wayzata Adult Basic Education
We asked some pilot teachers around the state about the impact that Burlington Core is having on classroom instruction and student learning. Here’s what they had to say.
Q. How has teaching with Burlington Core impacted your instruction?
A. The pilot teachers described how easy it is to teach with the In-Class Lessons and to monitor their students’ progress in Burlington Core. All of the teachers interviewed unanimously agreed that the lesson plans and rich content in Burlington Core have saved them hours of planning time, allowing them to spend more time working with their students.
“Burlington Core is a perfect fit … it’s everything I’ve been searching for! It’s been a such a gift to me. I’m more effective as a teacher. My quality of instruction, my whole approach has been refreshed. It works and my students are learning better!” Angela Donlon
“I love the content in Burlington Core. It is well designed and very helpful. With Burlington Core, my instruction is more focused. I like how the lessons really support the module. Burlington has everything I need. I don’t want to go back to the traditional way!” Doretta Meier
“Since teaching with the ICLs (In-Class Lessons) I have seen more steady attendance. I never want to go back to teaching with textbooks.” Naomi Lundgren
“Burlington Core is cohesive and engaging. The students like the structure and an understanding of what’s coming next. The content is relevant to students and the time we live in. It’s a powerful tool!” Kiana Erickson
“Planning with Burlington Core is minimal. I’m not exhausted anymore. I’m not going back to textbooks! It’s easier and more effective.” Nina Rasmussen
“The flexibility is awesome! There is so much variety … it’s the best there is around! I don’t want to go back to textbooks.” Valerie Knopp
Q. How has Burlington Core impacted student engagement and learning?
A. All of the teachers agreed that their students are more motivated and are taking more ownership of their learning since using Burlington Core. This new curriculum has contributed to transforming the traditional classroom into a more cohesive learning community.
“The content in Burlington Core is so applicable to my students’ lives! Prior to using Burlington Core, there was a disconnect between my instruction and what students worked on in the lab. Now, it’s all different. I’ve had feedback from students saying ‘thank you!’ They love the opportunity for repetition to let it (the information) sink in.” Kiana Erickson
“Computer lab used to be random, a free for all, but now my students are so much more engaged because I bring it (content) back to the class. It makes more sense.” Angela Donlon
“Since using Burlington Core, there is more consistency with students coming to class. They are connecting more and the cohesiveness and comradery in my class has increased.” Valerie Knopp
“With Burlington Core, I had an increase in attendance. My students wanted to come in for class time. The students have more independence with vocabulary practice and the Student Lessons. They can work at their own pace. The feedback is exciting. They are using the microphone and they’re trying to score 100%.” Jaine King and Karen Hatlestad
“I’m enjoying teaching online! My students are reading better on the computer than in the classroom. Some students show up online that didn’t show up in person.” Nina Rasmussen
Q. Has Burlington Core impacted digital literacy?
A. Building digital literacy is a common concern for many teachers and students in adult education. The Minnesota teachers were impressed by how their students’ digital literacy skills, as well as their own, improved since using Burlington Core.
“I love the way digital literacy is woven in and students (and teachers) can apply the skills to the rest of their lives. The comfort level they have with the technology is amazing. This program lends itself to peer support. My students are taking more ownership now and are reaching out and helping each other.” Kiana Erickson
“I originally avoided technology. This has given me so much digital literacy. It’s really been a boost for me!” Angela Donlon
“There is a big improvement in my students’ digital literacy. My students are able to connect online and they don’t want to come off the call.” Valerie Knopp
“The digital literacy increase has been awesome. One of my students was able to generalize the digital skills from Burlington Core to help her at work and she was able to use the computer on her own.” Naomi Lundgren
“Without BurlingtonEnglish, for many of my students there would be no (virtual) connection. There would be zero English in their home. I’m grateful for this (online) platform and what it brings to our students.” Jaine King
“I didn’t know what I was always searching for, but this is it. I found it in BurlingtonCore.”
said Angela Donlon, ELL Teacher, Owatonna Adult Learning Center as we concluded our virtual discussion. Despite the challenges faced by educators across the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there is an unexpected silver lining. Together, these Minnesota teachers and their students have found a new way to build deeper connections, increase cultural sensitivity, and create a strong learning community online with Burlington Core.
For more information visit www.BurlingtonEnglish.com.