Language Teaching vs. Language Mentoring

Most of us know what to expect when we sign up for an English course: we’ll work with a teacher who will probably guide us through a textbook of either general or business English topics. If we get a good teacher, we’ll have lots of opportunities to speak, we’ll be corrected in a constructive way, and we’ll take something away from every lesson. The goals are typically general: have a fun and relaxing experience while getting exposure to the language, improving, and feeling better about how we speak.

But when English skills suddenly take on new importance (after a promotion or a move to a new company or when the company language is changed to English, for example), so does the method of learning. 

  • Students’ needs become more specific. 
  • Their timeline for improvement becomes shorter. 
  • Their motivation increases. 
  • What they do with their time in an English lesson really matters. 
  • They want to keep all the best parts of their current class, but they also want (and need) something more. 

Language mentoring is designed precisely for students in this situation.

Our clients have included:


A woman who had completely avoided public speaking in English for years and wanted a helping hand in pushing past her mental block and preparing herself for the moment of change. 

A man who could see that it was time to push his company to adopt English as its main language and knew that he himself needed a better foundation in English in order to lead the way.

Leaders of a burgeoning company who needed to be able to compellingly express their vision and describe their business plans to potential investors and partners around the world. 

So how does it work?

Language mentoring begins with an assessment of where the student (client) is and where they need to be. The teacher (mentor) learns about the client’s job and the situations they may face. Common areas of focus include upcoming presentations, product pitches, or specific parts of business meetings (think: the dreaded English small talk!), among others.

The mentor then creates an education plan based on the client’s goals, typically for a four-month timeframe. This gives clear direction to the cooperation from the start: both the client and mentor know the goals and the plan for achieving them. 

While grammar always has a place in language learning, in language mentoring, more emphasis is placed on developing the key language skills and abilities that will be useful for an individual client in their work life. To reach this goal, we place a higher emphasis on active practice of skills and scenarios and post-practice reflection. 

We also want to help the client develop a certain mindset. The client should recognize that they are responsible for their learning and their success. They should be able to give themselves constructive feedback without spiralling into negativity. And they should see the importance of how they communicate with their own clients and colleagues.  

Ultimately, the goal of language mentoring is to help individuals build the confidence and skills that they need in order to face the challenges of doing their work in English. So if using English at work feels daunting right now, contact us. We can #changeit.

Autorka článku: Sara Tirrito

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