Overview

The Language Partner is an educated person who speaks the principal dialect of the target language.

The role of the Language Partner. Language Partners are not teachers. The Language Partners’ role is to provide students with dynamic interactive practice of the target language; they correct pronunciation and grammar; they provide students with the opportunity to use and to further develop the language skills they acquire while studying on their own. Language Partners provide invaluable insight into the people and cultures of the language being studied.

The Language Partner is expected to keep track of students' attendance at practice sessions, and to make a simple assessment of student preparedness and performance every two weeks.

The Language Partner will receive compensation for conducting the practice sessions and for preparation time.

GUIDELINES FOR THE LANGUAGE PARTNER

Your participation as a Language Partner in the Directed Independent Language Study program is vital to the success of the program. Although you are not serving as a teacher, your role in the program is invaluable in giving students an opportunity to practice, receive correction, and to communicate with a native speaker in the target language. We hope that assisting students in learning your native language will be a rewarding experience for you.

In the DILS Program your role is to guide the student through practice of the material he or she is studying; to provide correction, and give additional input of the language. Some of the chief activities should include (but should not be limited to): engaging students in dialogue; giving correction and eliciting more accurate and fluent speech; devising a variety of class activities (e.g. role-play) that will create context and enhance opportunities during the practice session for students to use the language in a natural way. 

You are responsible for assigning homework. Always conduct practice session on the assumption that students are thoroughly prepared; you should demand and expect such preparation.

PRACTICE SESSION MANAGEMENT SUGGESTIONS

  1. Practice Sessions should be conducted in your native language. You can provide students already at your first session with a few utterances in your native language expressing basic directives on how to ask simple questions, in order to avoid the use of English. If students ask questions in English, do not reply in English. Ask them (in your native language) to speak only that language. From the beginning, students should get in the habit of using the target language.
  2. Limit grammatical or linguistic explanations to the minimum. Students are responsible for studying grammar on their own. Practice sessions are for language use, not for language explanation. If it is absolutely necessary, you can give explanations during the last 10 minutes of your session.
  3. Be prepared for each Practice Session: be sufficiently familiar with the materials which the students are to work on; focus primarily on the features in the text and audio materials (idioms, structures) students studied, and be ready to give them the opportunity for intensive practice. You can incorporate the use of props, have students do role-play and other activities that give them the opportunity to contextualize the language features they studied.
  4. Faulty pronunciation: do not accept bad or marginally bad pronunciation.
  5. Do not read from a text, but speak in a conversational manner; always speak at your normal conversational speed, since that is what students will be expected to understand and produce on the final evaluation. In every session students should be doing at least 60% to 70% of the speaking; make sure that you are not doing most of the speaking.
  6. Additional recourses may be added to the basic text/audio/multimedia once students have assimilated the required materials.

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

  1. Absences are not allowed. If your students need to be absent from a session, they may do so only with special permission. If a student is absent more than once a week, you must inform the DILS Director right away. Do not review missed material in order to help students catch up after an absence. It is their responsibility to remain current with the materials.
  2. you will be asked to complete the Language Partner's bi-weekly Evaluation form. This will provide the Director with an indication of the students' progress. The DILS Director will assist you if needed to provide the student with feedback concerning his/her daily performance in the practice sessions.

If you have any questions, comments or problems, please contact the DILS Director.

LANGUAGE PARTNER JOB DESCRIPTION

In the Directed Independent Language Study program the Language Partner meets with students at regularly assigned times for one hour twice a week to lead foreign language Practice Sessions. The purpose of the practice session is to allow students to practice language skills, to receive immediate feedback, and to gain fluency. Specifically, the Language Partner will:

  • Be a native speaker and have a thorough oral and written command of the language.
  • Conduct practice sessions for students to practice and use the materials they have studied on their own.
  • Provide prompt feedback by correcting student responses.
  • Provide students with an accurate model of the language and speak at a natural pace.
  • Avoid the use of English.
  • Avoid giving explanations as much as possible.
  • Maintain records of student performance and submit these to the DILS Director.
  • Maintain class attendance records and report to DILS Director on absences.
  • Attend orientation session with the DILS Director at the beginning of the semester.
  • Work with the DILS Director to master Practice Session techniques.
  • Confer with the evaluator and the DILS Director at the beginning of the semester to determine the scope and pace of the material to be covered.
  • Sign a "Language Partner Contract".

To apply for a position as Language Partner, contact the DILS Director at DILS@miami.edu