Leverage Your Mistakes - How to learn English from sratch?

Leverage Your Mistakes - How to learn English from sratch?

Publikált: 2023. szept. 12. Szerző: Zoltán B.

​​Leverage Your Mistakes - How to learn English from scratch?

Not until today did I realize how important it is to eradicate students' fears of making mistakes when things come down to the ever-perpetual learning process.

Although this concept applies to studying in general, including all sciences and disciplines out there, today I am going to focus specifically on learning to speak English as a non-native person and hereby state my hypothesis in a short blog story. It may not be scientifically proven yet but I am sure that it has a lot of merits down to it.

The concept that I am just about to outline dawned on me when I took up my duty to teach a moderately shy, effeminate young man who had the intention of polishing up his English just before his final exams started in high school. His parents were nourishing high hopes for getting him a good teacher and pushing the young lad to the mastery of his English-speaking skills. As I was the chosen mentor to embark on this sometimes long-haul, yet dignifying but also challenging intellectual journey, I was provided with a bulk of background materials. It was like a whole stack of meticulously written exam questions and answers, and to my greatest astonishment, some of the young man's well-crafted essays - all exquisitely written in English.

As I was holding all these in my hands, I was hit hard by the realization that although I was told that this young man did not know how to speak at all, he had a neat and respectable study background. That said, I could not see for a sudden moment where I was standing with the whole process in the first place. So with all these in mind, I initiated a small talk with the young guy, and I was expecting that shortly, we could start a late back, everyday conversation in a natural and reciprocal manner. However, as we were just getting started, it turned out very soon, that this young student was indeed at a loss for his words. Although he was not a raucous fellow at all, not even in his mother tongue, he could seemingly not form a conscience sentence at all. 

It was surprising. It did not come together. I could not understand at all. How could a guy like him not say basically anything at all?

As we finished the class and departed from each other in a due manner of politeness, I had an instant moment of epiphany two blocks away. As usual. Most of the time, you get a chance to a "balcony thinking" as soon as you are no longer engrossed in the act of a given situation. 

What I realized was that this guy was embarrassed. He was so stressed and inhibited from speaking, as a bitter outcome of his parental pressure and educational background, that he could not say a word. 

It was not about the lack of his competencies but the mere result of his social context. This way, I am not trying to depict school and parents as draconian characters who only serve the infinite amount of suffering of the forthcoming generations. That would not be fair, and that is not the point here.

However, what I wish to point out is an idea - a premise that fosters kids to take constructive amount of risks and conditions them to feel free to try and fail. And try and fail again. And give them a chance. And do it, as long as it is necessary. It is an idea that fosters creativity. 

On the one hand, taking exams must be by their nature static in a way. It means that there are a limited amount of right solutions to a given task. That is important to set certain standards and qualities for any kind of science and discipline. Most importantly, this is the only way they become viable. It is a lot more comprehensible and tangible in the world of Technical Sciences. In Mathematics and Physics, some laws should be complied with, no matter what. These might be the laws of our Universe; it really does not matter what we call it. 

However, on the other hand, what might be more important is to change our approach to the methodology of attaining these desirable, "static" results. One other way to understand this better is to take a bracing look at toddlers and young children. There is a part of neuroscience that dictates why they can learn so fast. But another reason why they are so good at it is that they have not yet developed any social reflexes. They cannot reflect on themselves yet. In other words, they just do not get embarrassed. 

They hop on that bike and they fall face down to the mud. And that is OK!

If he or she wants to learn to ride that bike, he cannot over-write the rules and laws of riding a bike, or they may do it at their peril, which inexorably results in facing the mud. But ultimately, they will learn how to ride a bike if they keep trying and yet sometimes falling.

This way we should and ultimately cannot corrupt science by any misdemeanor. Remember? Laws of the Universe.

Nevertheless, we have to embrace the thought at the same time that failing and falling is an intricate part of learning and mastering basically anything in life. 

You need a mentor to outline the right pathway but you are the one who has to try and fail and do it as long as it is necessary.

There is no other recipe to learn English. 

And be patient.