IWTYAL 022: How can I help my friend with her English?

itunesButtonIsabelle asks: “My Chinese friend is learning English. How can I help her best?”

In this episode:

  • How to help someone learn another language

Three exercises you can use to figure out how to help someone learn your language:

  1. Have a discussion, just as you normally would. Don’t interrupt, keep the conversation flowing. During this time, make lots of notes about their language. What mistakes are they making? What doesn’t sound natural? When you’ve filled up a couple of pages with notes, look for patterns. What things keep cropping up again and again. Here’s your starting point for helping them improve.
  2. Record the conversation. Listen back to it together, and give your friend control over the start/stop button! Ask them to ask you questions about what they have said. This helps them raise awareness of their own language use.
  3. Ask your friend what they most need to use the language for: making notes in lectures, reading books, giving talks etc. Once you’ve got this clear, simply do that activity together and help them improve.

Resources mentioned:

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  • The[Eye]TDepartment

    Haha I’m honoured to be the first repeat-questioner 😉
    Seriously though, I couldn’t have asked for a better answer to my question: concise, helpful and packed with practical advice. Am feeling much better equipped to help my friend (who incidentally is majoring in Business English at a Uni in China), with her English, so thank you very much!