Language Mentor Speaking Tips

This post outlines some useful speaking tips when working with a language mentor.

  1. Take notes: Various platforms such as google docs/OneNote/quizlet (see below for example) are extremely useful for taking notes. Make sure you have organized them in a way where they can be revisited later. I personally use OneNote and set up one tab for each lesson as well as a running tab for all the vocabulary. After the lesson, I transfer this vocab to quizlet so I can practice it later.
  2. Set goals for each lesson: Be purposeful with how you structure each lesson. Think about “can do” statements and what you hope to accomplish. The more specific, the better. Having these benchmarks can ensure you are using your time most effectively.
  3. Make sure you are actively speaking: It is often tempting to let your mentor do all the talking. Don’t be afraid to jump in and ask questions. Active engagement also makes lessons more fun and memorable.
  4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: For some (including myself), a fear of failure may discourage you from speaking. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make mistakes. These fumbles are extremely valuable and will only help you grow as a language learner.
  5. Repeat, repeat, repeat: When you encounter new words, make sure to say them out loud, not only so you remember them, but so your language mentor can correct your pronunciation. Try to use them in a sentence as well to make sure you understand the meaning.
  6. Provide constructive criticism: Sometimes it will take time to find the perfect flow with your mentor. Don’t be afraid to politely offer some feedback or request things be done a slightly different way.


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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.