General Advice

  • Preparation is the key to success. Even ten minutes of preparation can greatly benefit and enhance your exchange.
  • Take charge of your own learning. Ask for explanations when something is not clear - it's your responsibility to do so.
  • Ask your partners to repeat, explain or translate when you don't understand something. Don’t say you understand if you don’t!
  • Ask your partners to slow down if they speak too fast.
  • Make an effort to speak out, even if you're shy.
  • Be sensitive to your partner’s needs.
  • When speaking in your own language, keep in mind that you're doing this so your partners can practice - encourage them to participate, and make sure they can follow the conversation.
  • Explain, repeat, write down or translate when necessary, and slow down if your partners ask you to.
  • If someone says a word that you don't understand (because of poor pronunciation, for example), just ask them to write it in the text box, then say it for them. Pronunciation is important!
  • Encourage those who are too shy to speak.
  • Don't correct grammar all the time, do not interrupt someone in the middle of a sentence to correct him or her - too much correction interferes with the conversation and can frustrate and block speakers. Do however clear up errors that interfere with understanding.
  • If someone insists on being corrected, ask him or her what he or she wants you to focus on: verbs, prepositions, pronunciation, gender, etc.
  • The best way to correct is to just repeat the word or phrase the way you would say it.
  • Speak loudly and clearly
  • Give everyone a chance to speak - don't monopolize the conversation.
  • Develop a listening attitude.
  • Allow others their point of view - you can comment, but don't judge.

    The most important thing to remember is:
    Practice regularly! It's like physical exercise: You need regular, quality practice to see results!