Strategies for Communicating with English Language Learners and Low Literacy Mentees
If your mentee is an English Language Learner, or a low literacy student, below are some tips for communicating with them. You can also download the tips with this link.
When speaking over the phone, video, or in-person:
Be sure to enunciate and slow down when speaking
Use facial expressions and body language
Avoid challenging vocabulary or slang.
Try not to group multiple thoughts/questions into one sentence.
Provide space and time between responses so your mentee has time to process and craft a sentence.
If your mentee doesn’t respond, ask “Did you understand what I said? Do you want me to repeat or rephrase what I said?”
Try using online tools like Google Translate or image searches to help with communication.
Get to know your mentee’s background, cultures, and customs. This can assist in fostering mutual understanding and recognizing cultural differences.
When Communicating Online:
When asking your mentee a question, physically separate them from other thoughts (i.e., via paragraph break, bolding, underlining, numbering related questions,).
Acknowledge any growth you observe outright, even if it seems small
Model English writing
Write messages you are confident your mentee can understand
Don’t hesitate to use challenging vocabular words- just be sure to define them! Establish a consistent system for including definitions so that your mentee can easily process this, such as having the definition in parentheses following the word.
Avoid slang and/or idioms
If you are having trouble understanding your mentee’s message try reading it aloud. This can be helpful if a mentee is spelling phonetically or mistakenly used a world that sounds similar but means something different.
The Learning Center is a centralized collection of resources for iMentor staff, partners, mentors, mentees, funders, schools, and other friends of iMentor. The goal of the Learning Center is to provide everyone the tools and information they need to fulfill their roles in our program.