A helping hand

An online class of English 52 getting ready to start on Zoom. The support course strengthens students writing abilities.

An online class of English 52 getting ready to start on Zoom. The support course strengthens students’ writing abilities.

Lydia Schmidtler, Correspondent

MiraCosta College offers math and English courses in regular, honors and support versions. Support courses increase student-teacher interaction in a transfer-level course to better accommodate some students’ needs. This format can better allow the professor to work one on one with students and explain pre-requisite topics necessary for succeeding in the transfer-level course.

Researchers have found that just half of all students nationwide feel ready for college-level work. Support classes exist to help with that college readiness. Teresa Guinon, an English professor at MCC, teaches English 52, a class that requires concurrent enrollment in English 100 as it helps students complete the 100 course.

Sometimes a stigma can be attached to taking a class with lower-level coursework involved. “I think a lot of people think those who take English 52 [are students that] need help and that is not the case. The case is they get stronger in their writing, and they are able to take those strengths back to English 100,” Guinon said.

Some students like Mari Cruz, who have taken a math support class, find support classes helpful especially as the class gets harder.

“I think the support will help later in the semester when it starts getting harder. Much of what my math class is covering right now is review. But once we start covering harder topics I think then I will get to see the benefit [of the support class],” Cruz said.

Aside from strengthening students’ writing, Guinon believes that support classes provide a supportive environment.

“Support classes give students extra time on tasks which is really important; especially, when you’re in-person or on zoom. It is also a safe environment and by that I mean you really get to know each other,” Guinon said. “Because of that [classroom environment], you are more likely to ask questions. A sense of community is developed and you are really able to contribute, ask questions, and learn.”

Support classes can face low enrollment from incoming students that haven’t heard about the support option.

“One of the challenges we face is getting students to learn about English 52. There are so many students who enroll without going to a counselor and learning about this opportunity,” Guinon said. “We had to drop several classes in spring because of low enrollment. And yet, we all know a lot of students could have benefited from that class.”