Purposeful Paraphrasing

Demonstrating uses of paraphrasing in an effective mentoring conversation.
Made by New Teacher Center
This micro-credential is no longer available.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The mentor uses paraphrasing intentionally to build trust, demonstrate understanding, and extend or deepen thinking.

Method Components

As a mentor works with the mentee, the mentor uses and identifies the three key purposes of paraphrasing in a mentoring conversation. The strategies employed by the mentor will be captured on video and reflected upon.

What is paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is a conversation skill (oral or written) that is used to engage a mentee in collaborative problem solving and reflective thinking by restating and/or reframing the mentee’s words. The flow of information should come from the mentee. Purposeful paraphrasing can help a mentor build trust and maintain focus on a mentee’s needs and ideas, while also building the mentee’s capacity for more effective thinking about practice.

Three key purposes for paraphrasing in a mentoring conversation

  1. To build trust by:
    • Acknowledging feelings based on mentee’s statements
    • Empathizing with mentee’s situation
    • Explicitly naming mentee’s previously unstated emotions
  2. To demonstrate understanding of what the mentee is thinking and saying by:
    • Communicating understanding by restating mentee’s thinking
    • Separating complex issues that mentee has surfaced
    • Summarizing multiple mentee ideas into a broad theme
  3. To support the mentee in extending or deepening his or her thinking and practice by:
    • Organizing mentee’s ideas
    • Synthesizing mentee’s thinking
    • Naming mentee’s ideas using academic or technical language of educational pedagogy
    • Broadening, narrowing, or otherwise shifting mentee’s understanding

Research & Resources

Supporting Research


  • NTC Paraphrasing Stems.
    Some possible paraphrasing stems include:
    • _In other words . . . ”
    • _It sounds like . . . ”
    • _There are several key points youre bringing up . . . ”
    • _From what youre saying . . . ”
    • _Youre primarily concerned with . . . ”
    • _If Im hearing you correctly . . . ”

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

Activity Description:

  • Provide a short, contextual description of the mentoring conversation recorded in the video or audio (e.g., background information about mentor and mentee; time of year).
  • Include the intended goal(s) of the conversation.

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Submit one video or audio recording of a mentoring conversation that demonstrates your competence in paraphrasing. Your video or audio submission will be assessed based on the following rubric. You must earn a “Yes” on this portion of the submission in order to earn the micro-credential.

(Video/audio should not exceed seven minutes total and may be comprised of up to three edited clips.)

Part 3. Mentor reflection

Submit a reflection on the use of paraphrasing in the mentoring conversation shown in the recording. Use the following prompts as a guide:

  • Identity three specific examples of paraphrasing in your video/audio evidence and identify which of the three purposes they served. Include time stamps from the video where paraphrasing statement(s) begin.
  • Analyze how the examples furthered the conversation or affected the mentee’s thinking or feelings. Refer to specific mentee language or reactions as evidence of effects. How did your use of paraphrasing affect the mentoring conversation?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Purposeful Paraphrasing
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document