Lee’s English Language Center Opens to Community

Friday, September 07, 2012

English Language Center

By: Christian Downes  

The Lee University’s Department of Language and Literature has established the English Language Center (ELC), providing language services to the public. Classes begin the week of Monday, Sept. 17, 2012.

The opening of the ELC represents Lee’s civic commitment to positively impact the greater Cleveland community. Dr. Jean Eledge, Chair of Lee’s Department of Language and Literature, said, “The English Language Center is the fulfillment of a dream that we have had for years. It organizes and coordinates our English language services to the community and provides our Lee students invaluable opportunities to use their training to help meet the language needs of others.”

ELC student-instructors are professionally trained in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), under the direction of Dr. Christopher Blake, assistant professor of TESOL and Linguistics at Lee. Blake said, “Instead of pulling our curriculum from a box, we design classes that address the specific language needs of our students and their goals for learning English.”

Small class sizes afford English learners the opportunity to develop conversational skills with instructors who address the unique challenges each student faces. Instructors meet with Blake to discuss their experiences, build curriculums and learn methods to approach various types of ESL classes.

Blake continued, “English learners don’t want to spend time on lessons that aren’t relevant to their immediate situation; we aren’t seeing that here because classes are focused on helping students reach their own language goals.”

In her senior year, former ELC instructor and alumna, Lindsey Mahloy, enrolled in Blake’s Intro to Linguistics course. “A couple weeks into the course Dr. Blake talked about his vision for having an English learning center at Lee. He was so passionate about the subject, it was contagious!”

Mahloy said she quickly grew obsessed: “I never thought of myself as a teacher because I always struggled with dyslexia, but I felt like it would be a way for me to apply what I was learning in class. When I look back at my time in the ELC, I realize how much it really changed my life. I fell in love with linguistics, and quickly realized that this was my ticket to the world–not only that– but I love to teach!”

Prior to Lee, Blake was a faculty member at Western Carolina University where he prepared both undergraduate and graduate students with strategies for teaching English language learners. He also taught English in Changchun, China for two years where he developed a business English course for promising entrepreneurs. His research specializes in the areas of fluency, intercultural communication, and language assessment.

Mahloy graduated in the summer of 2012 with a bachelor’s in anthropology. She currently resides in Atlanta, teaching English to adults in Marietta, Ga. and Spanish to preschool students in Stone Mountain, Ga. She plans to later teach in South Korea and other countries around the world.

For more information about the English Language Center and the classes offered contact Dr. Christopher Blake at or 423-614-8223.

PHOTO: (l to r) ELC nstructors Stephanie Kentzel and Lyndsey Mahloy