As stated in previous chapters, the mentor-student relationship is the most important relationship in this self-taught LCTL acquisition course. We rely on our mentors not only for speaking, reading, writing, and listening mastery (at our desired level) but also for support, care, and friendship throughout our language learning journeys. The feedback we are given from our mentors is like gold. We students are required to honor this essential feedback by finding the most efficient methods to integrate this feedback well as we go! Without integrating our mentors’ feedback, we are not taking full advantage of our learning experience, and we are likely to stall-out and not accomplish our goals.
Below, I will provide two examples of ways in which I was able to incorporate my mentors feedback in my language learning. These scenarios exemplify just two of the countless ways students can go about integrating feedback. These processes worked for me, but each student must discover (based on their metacognitive realities) what works the best for them.
Before I outline my two examples, I will note some practical things I did in my mentor sessions to help with integration afterwards.
- I took written notes throughout my mentor session in OneNote.
- I sent these notes to Musa afterwards, so he could check my spelling, grammar, and writing.
- I also audio recorded the sessions for future reference.
- I asked for words/ phrases to be repeated several times in the recordings for my future reference.
EXAMPLE #1: GREETINGS AND FAREWELLS
- Activity: Musa and I completed a mentor session on Maa greetings and farewells. This was a speaking and listening exercise. I audio recorded the session and took hand-written notes. I brought terms to the session that I had collected from my Maa grammar book. I shared these with Musa orally. He had multiple responses to my speech including the following: affirmation, expansion, correction, and negation. I would pronounce a word/ phrase. Musa would repeat this phrase and then ask me to repeat it again. We went back and forth until I was pronouncing the word/phrase correctly.
- Mentor Feedback: Musa’s feedback was to affirm me, to expand on the term with more context/ more related terms, and to correct my mispronunciations.
- Integration Process: Since I had audio recorded this session, I was able to go back to the many repeated words of greetings and farewells to practice speaking them over and over until I had fully integrated them into my language learning activities. Also, since Musa’s process of providing feedback is incredibly supportive and encouraging, I felt comfortable throughout. I felt safe to make mistakes and to continue to try. Musa has never reflected particularly critical feedback towards me about my pronunciation or Maa speaking capabilities. He is only supportive. I took these affirmations and newly integrated greetings and farewells forward. Having audio recordings of the session helped me immensely in this task.
EXAMPLE #2: REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH QUESTIONS/ TERMINOLOGY
- Activity: Musa and I completed a session where we practiced reading and writing reproductive health questions for Maasai women. I audio recorded the sessions and took hand-written notes throughout. I brought terms about the body to the session and Musa built on this information with several more terms and phrases related to menstruation. In zoom, Musa typed the question/ word into the chat function. I read the question/ word out loud. He corrected my speech and pronunciation. He would then delete the phrase from the chat and ask me to write the words down again in the chat back to him.
- Mentor Feedback: Again, Musa was very supportive. His only feedback and corrections involved grammar and spelling changes with the writing and pronunciation with the speaking.
- Integration Process: Again, since I recorded this, I was able to go back to the recording and listen to Musa as we patiently walked me through the various terms/ phrases. I would listen to the recording, pause it, practice speaking it out loud and write it down. I also used flashcards to practice these questions/ terms etc. and to integrate them into my larger Maa learning picture.
I hope these ideas have been helpful for you as you conceptualize integrating your mentor feedback!