The tutor checks for thorough mastery of dialogues, vocabulary and sentence structures; conducts drills and exercises; corrects for accurate pronunciation, expects fluent performance in oral work, and provides opportunities for productive repetition, conversation, and constant reinforcement. Your tutor will use only the target language in the tutorials.

The tutor is not expected to function as a teacher. The tutor does not give graded quizzes or exams, assign grades, give grammatical explanations, talk about the language or introduce additional material.

Please avoid the impulse to ask your tutor for grammatical explanations and linguistic insights. Explanations, which would have to be in English, take time away from the learning process, and all too often require the tutor to fulfill a role for which he or she is not prepared. Seldom will the tutor be trained in the linguistic problems of her/his language and seldom will s(he) know the best way to prepare explanations for speakers of another language.

For example, consider a situation in which a foreign student asks you why there is no plural “furnitures,” and how he can tell when other English words take no plural. The chances are that you could not give a definitive explanation of this aspect of your native language. It is your responsibility to avoid time-consuming questions on grammar that stall the tutorials and take time away from speaking in the target language. Rather than explanations in English, the tutor will provide additional examples and you need to be prepared to continue through the material, even if there is an occasional point here and there that you do not fully understand. Many questions will be answered as you progress through the material. The best grammatical explanation is provided by the text and the best use of the tutorial is using the language, not talking about it.


Mary Beth Helderle

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