I’m finally on my holiday break so -hopefully- I’ll be able to reply to all my unanswered messages. I’m catching up with everything blog-related so bear with me, s’il vous plaît.
As promised, today I’m going to share with you an interesting guest post written for us by Laurianne Sumerset. I’m sure you’re going to find it useful and inspiring. Enjoy!
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I decided to pursue my passion for language and traveling after graduation. I thought this would just allow me to discover more things about the world. But it turned out that I also learned so much about myself.
Here are four life lessons that language learning taught me:
1. Passion is not enough.
Cal Newport, in his CNN article Why follow your passion is bad advice, emphasized that one shouldn’t look for passion but instead develop it. Passion alone didn’t lead me right away to jobs and opportunities. I studied linguistics, explored the trends in my industry, such as the latest technology used in teaching, and even put up a blog to record my learning and share it with others.
Learning a new language isn’t just about being able to speak the French expressions you heard from a movie. It is a discipline and an art at the same time that language learners need to learn. Passion only becomes real with action and commitment.
2. Value the ABCs.
To become knowledgeable and skilled in language learning, one has to master the basics first. Now that I am a teacher, I do not just help students speak the English language but I make sure they understand the use of grammar, the context, and even the cultural factors. I do not just look at my students as language learners but individuals with needs and goals. I get to appreciate the beauty of an object when I become exposed to its details. This fuels me to become a better language learner and teacher.
3. Mistakes are fine.
As long as you give your best to correct them next time.
Many successful people had to fail and be rejected many times before they reached where they are now, such as Steven Spielberg, J.K. Rowling, and even Albert Einstein. The ones who successfully speak second languages may have started from scratch and with fears too. I had my own mistakes too. The secret is to never quit and try harder. For example, if you are not yet comfortable with your grammar usage, ask someone to guide you, find tools such as grammar checkers, or read more books to be more familiar with how sentences are weaved together.
4. Learn by heart.
When are learning something by heart, the process becomes easier and fun. I am a fan of enjoying passive skills when it comes to language learning for beginners. Memorizing lines may help but it won’t give you the complete essence of the language. Passive skills are skills in language learning that you develop by simply immersing yourself in learning opportunities that you do not have to create yourself, such as music and movies. This strategy would allow you to understand the phrases, develop your instinct for pronouncing them, and appreciate the language more.
Learning a new language doesn’t just make something strange familiar to me but it makes me appreciate the things that have always been familiar to me: my values in life.
Laurianne Sumerset is a passionate traveler and English teacher based in Thailand. She is currently studying for a PhD in Linguistics at Chulonglakorn University.
When she’s not wearing her teacher and traveler hats, she reviews online language courses and software for her website, languagesoftware.net.