Working with a language mentor is a key component to any independent language learning program. Here are a few key tips for finding an Akan Twi language mentor!
- Reach out to the Ghanaian networks around Madison. Lucky for you, the Ghanaian community in Madison is thriving! There is an organized group of Ghanaians called the Ghanaian Association of Madison which holds events and meetings throughout the year. Connect with the group to start attending events and talking to people! Additionally, some years there are also undergraduate and graduate students attending UW-Madison from Ghana. African Students Association might be another resource for you to connect with!
- Get to know people and ask an Akan Twi speaker to be a mentor. When you’ve started to meet Ghanaian friends and contacts, hopefully you will find a person who seems like a suitable mentor. There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a language mentor, including availability, personal compatibility and teaching ability (Marshall, 1989). If possible, find an Akan speaker that is fluent in the dialect of Akan that you aim to learn. There are over 70 languages spoken in Ghana and multiple dialects of Akan, not all Ghanaians will be fluent in your language or dialect of interest!
- Express your language learning goals and role of a mentor. You and your Akan Twi speaking mentor should begin your relationship by discussing your language learning objectives and semester goals. American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Levels can be a helpful resource for setting language goals. Additionally, as the student/mentor relationship differs from the typical teacher/student relationship, you will likely need to outline the style of guidance and cooperative planning expected of a mentor to meet your learning goals.
- Set expectations and train your mentor. Set expectations for scheduling, communication, compensation and activities. Initially, you will take a teaching role to demonstrate developing drills and creating lesson plan. Marshall (1989) states that students must train their mentors experientially, continually co-learning with your language mentor as you build your relationship. This co-learning and co-planning will continue throughout your relationship!
Marshall, T. (1989). The Whole World Guide to Language Learning. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.