How to be a learning ally

If you’ve ever learned a new skill, you know it takes discipline and support to accomplish your goals.

Learning a language is no different, except that it’s more obvious to everyone when you stumble or succeed.

What’s critical to meeting your goal are the people who helped you along the way, gave you advice, or kindly corrected a mistake. The same applies to language skills.

Supportive language partners are essential to learning English.

Entrada ESL uses your built-in network of coworkers and supervisors to facilitate the ultimate language learning experience and cultural transformation for the workplace.

We compiled a list of tips to support employees learning English.

Be an ally.

Let language learners know that you’re an ally, a language partner open to mistakes. Keep conversations simple and relaxed. The more nervous a learner is, the less the person will want to practice. Let the learners know that you support them, and that mistakes are okay. Start with basic questions about your colleague’s routine or family since those are usually easier to answer than complex concepts.

Be aware of facial expressions.

Non-verbal communication can have a real impact on conversations. Try to maintain a neutral or, even better, friendly facial expression. Many people involuntarily squint their eyes when they have trouble understanding something. The visual cue of a quizzical facial expression, though unintentional, can be demoralizing and make the learner freeze up. So, making it a practice to smile and listen goes a long way.

Encourage practicing and making mistakes.

Mistakes are common for any learner of a new skill. But, they’re a critical component to mastery. Offer your team opportunities to practice and encourage learners to speak even if they make mistakes. Help them understand that making mistakes is a natural, normal part of the language learning process. It’s also helpful to coach fellow coworkers and supervisors on how to provide feedback on language skills. For example, at Entrada, we provide supervisors with guided practice questions and opportunities to make this as easy and effective as possible.

Compliment progress and success.

We can all use a cheerleader once in a while, so be encouraging. Check in with learners to ask how they’re progressing or if they have any questions about English grammar or vocab. Be sure to compliment gains you see them making, even if it’s something small. Many adults, like all of us, appreciate the motivation because learning a language can feel like a daunting task. It’s all about one step at a time.

That’s just a starter list.

During the program, we provide a full suite of tools to supervisors and colleagues so that they can support their team members in a low-touch, high-impact way. This is an excellent way to shift the culture in your organization from avoidance to inclusion.

Reach out today to learn how to lift up your workforce.

Talk to you soon!

Creating a communicative, compassionate workforce and society. Teaching staff English while they work to upskill and improve operations. www.entradaesl.com

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