Essential Elements of a Program

Mentored Language Program Purpose and Format

Facilitating Study of the Least Commonly Taught Languages

The Mentored Language Program came into being as a methodology that would facilitate study of the least commonly taught languages in an academic setting even when target language faculty were not available to teach a traditional language course. Few institutions are in a position to locate and hire trained language professors for all languages that students are eager to study. The Mentored Language Program harnesses academic energy from a variety of sources and brings it together in order to offer students the opportunity to study the languages of interest.

Program Format

The Mentored Language Program is an effective method for language acquisition that emphasizes all four primary language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students using this format combine individual tutorials with a mentor (tutor), small group conversation sessions with a native speaker, and significant amount of weekly independent study based on structured study guides. There is a final written evaluation and a 20-30 minute final oral evaluation conducted by a professor, frequently an external professor, of the target language. This methodology was created and designed through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Program Coordination

In a classroom setting, the professor serves as the coordinator; in the Mentored Language Program, the Director or Program Coordinator and Program Staff fill this role. The Program admits students, provides access to Study Guides, hires and trains the mentors and the conversation partners, holds student homework portfolios, reads and records student self-assessments, organizes the final exams and records the final grades. 

This site is intended to provide all information necessary for any academic institution to adopt the paradigm for its own use. In addition to prose descriptions of how the program functions, users will find links to videos clips of best practices and links to pertinent sites.

Essential Elements

In order for this semi-independent language acquisition paradigm to function, the following elements need to be present: