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Tips for Success

Tips for Successful Language Practice

  1. Take Charge Of Your Own Learning
    • If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation immediately — it’s your responsibility to let your facilitator know when something isn’t clear.
    • Feel free to ask your partners to repeat, explain or translate when you don’t understand something — this is the whole reason behind this language exchange: for you to be able to follow the conversation and participate!
    • Instead of looking up vocabulary words in your electronic dictionary, try asking the other person to explain what the word means in English.
    • Ask your partners to slow down if they speak too fast.
    • Make an effort to speak out, even if you’re shy.
  2. Be Sensitive to Other Circle Members’ Needs
    • When speaking English, please keep in mind that you’re doing this so that everyone can practice — encourage everyone to participate, and make sure they can follow the conversation.
    • Explain, repeat, write down or translate when necessary, and slow down if other Circle members ask you to.
    • If someone says a word that you don’t understand (because of inaccurate pronunciation, for example), just ask them to write it down. Practice pronouncing it as a group, to make sure everyone’s saying it correctly. Pronunciation is important!
    • Encourage those who are too shy to speak. For example, you can ask: “What do you think, Lolita? You’ve been very quiet.”
  3. Be Considerate
    • Speak loudly and clearly — think about how you speak when you’re giving someone your address over the phone.
    • Give everyone a chance to speak — don’t monopolize the conversation.
    • Develop a listening attitude.
    • Allow others their pointa of view — you can comment, but don’t judge.
  4. Communicate!
    • If you have ANY questions or comments, let us know! We try to make Conversation Circles as flexible as possible. If you need to change Circles, let us know. If you haven’t heard from your facilitator, let us know. If you want more time in Conversation Circles, let us know. We are more than happy to make exceptions, make phone calls, and make changes to make you happy… but we have to know what to do!
    • You can always e-mail CircleUp-Questions@umich.edu with questions or comments.