Spotlight on Student Success

Stephanie Rintala, ELL Teacher; Irene Yang, ELL Student, Mid-State Technical College, Wisconsin

Written by the Burlington English Marketing and Editorial Team

“First, I have to improve my English. That is my goal now.” Irene Yang is an ELL student from Laos and a BurlingtonEnglish Champion at Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin. Before Irene moved to Wisconsin from West Virginia, she had not received any formal English language instruction. Rather, she studied independently using online resources and with the help of a friend. Now she attends ELL classes taught by Stephanie Rintala at the college. She was nominated as a BurlingtonEnglish Champion because she encourages and helps other learners, makes the most of BurlingtonEnglish to develop her language skills, and has an overall positive impact on her classroom.

In the Classroom

“I like the class. Helping other students helps me learn.” Irene loves assisting other students and attends all the classes she can, even offering to come early to the Level 1 class to help another Lao- speaking student. In class, she translates words for her classmate and helps her understand how and when to use words or phrases. Irene finds it beneficial to first practice and role-play conversations in Lao with her classmate and only then to try in English. She encourages students to use all the resources in BurlingtonEnglish, including Test Practice, Readers, and the new Burlington Grammar lessons. Her teacher, Stephanie Rintala, says, “She’s so pleasant, welcoming, and helpful for the class and other students. Like many students, she had picked up oral language skills, but attending an instructor-led class helped her gain grammar and written skills, which means she can use and apply her language skills better. She’s a great demonstration of that.”

Advice for Students

“With BurlingtonEnglish, you can study in your own time, anywhere.” Irene usually studies with her mobile phone and likes the fact that she can study for any length of time. Sometimes, she completes a short grammar lesson while watching her children play in the backyard. At other times, she includes her children; they practice pronouncing vocabulary words together. She usually studies between 20-60 minutes a day. Her advice to new BurlingtonEnglish students is, “Use it to improve your English.
You can study in your own time, even if you’re not at home.”

Irene’s Picks

“He travels to so many places and sees many things. Sometimes he’s big, sometimes he’s small — it’s a fun book.” Irene’s favorite Reader is Gulliver’s Travels. She reads the story and listens to the audio. She likes that there are many different Readers to choose from.

“I can see my mistakes and work to improve.” Irene uses Burlington’s Prepare for CASAS/Test Practice materials to work on her test-taking skills and strategies. She can take practice tests to prepare for standardized assessments. Ms. Rintala shared that even though they use the TABE assessment, she finds the Prepare for CASAS/Test Practice materials helpful. She uses it to dig deeper into her favorite test-taking strategies, such as eliminating one wrong answer to make multiple-choice questions easier to answer.

Irene appreciates the instant feedback she gets while completing lessons, whether she is working on her pronunciation, writing, grammar, listening, or reading. “My favorite thing about Burlington is they have so many things in there. It has buttons to record myself, so I know if I’m doing good or not.”

Irene’s goal is to learn English. She is working hard to achieve this goal.

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