Speaking Practice tips with mentor


Communicate your language goals and objectives.
As one of my language learning goals is to improve pronunciation and overall Swahili sentence rhythm, I established with my mentor the need to help me focus on these areas, regardless of the specific topic. A new mentor made me read comprehension passages aloud and I think it is good to have that while this read-aloud session is recorded. It is also important to have mentors record their versions to serve as a fallback for language learners.

Constant Practice
Depending on the relationship and schedule you have with your mentor there is a need to engage in regular conversation. Because I live with one of my mentors, I have the advantage of meeting anytime, and within an unspecified time frame to talk about topics specified in my ISP or random topics. With my other mentor, I have a structured timeline where the speaking exercises are direct, intense, and concise.

Verifying other sources.

It is important to verify pronunciation, appropriate word choice and expressions learned from other sources with the mentor in order to avoid wrong fossilization. One thing that I have been doing is cross checking knowledge and contexts provided from other sources with my mentors.

Individual practice before and after meeting/Reporting

Because of the possible limited meeting time, it is crucial to practice generally before engaging with the mentor, and then have multiple reviewing after the speaking sessions with mentors. I send recorded audios to my mentors and have them send audio feedbacks during times we cannot meet and also during key moments where we do actually meet physically, or online Recording also helps with reviewing.

Just as Gretchen and Lauren said in “What makes language easy?”, the fear of making mistakes should be removed because language learning is the only skill that being poor at is in itself better than not knowing at all. So, speak without fear!