ILLINOIS STATE LIBRARY
Lesson 10 - Tutoring English Language Learners
Reducing a Learner's Anxiety Level
When Lubov, an immigrant from eastern Europe, joined the literacy program, she was nervous about meeting a tutor and did not know what to expect. During the first session, her volunteer tutor greeted Lubov with a warm smile and a friendly handshake. They sat down together to discuss what Lubov wanted to learn. The tutor clearly explained when and where they would meet. The tutor began to explain how they would work together to help Lubov reach her learning goals. They completed a small task in which Lubov was successful. Lubov left the session reassured that the tutoring was going to work for her.
Be aware that Lubov, as an eastern European, was used to a culture where shaking hands is welcoming. As a new tutor, can you be open to bowing if your learner is an Asian? Can you accept that a Moslem man will not shake hands with a woman? To reduce a learner's anxiety, the tutor must be proactive in understanding the learner's customs.
This tutor is aware that reducing a learner's anxiety level is essential.