It’s nothing new.
In teaching someone, we often end up learning ourselves. Or rather, we have the opportunity to do so.
I pretend I’m teaching my students about the world, but really, i’m also learning myself.
I’ve decided recently to start featuring a new beautiful place from around the world before each class:
Bet you’re pretty surprised to know these places are in Africa and Fance, respectively. I/my class was, too. It’s funny to think about daily problems and frustrations knowing that paradises and wonder such as these exist.
The easiest argument, or inspiration, for language education is travel. Making it easier to see wondrous and beautiful things is a no-brainer. Of course, you can’t see new places without getting some new culture, either.
Yet, why don’t we native English speakers see knowing English as one of the biggest arguments to get out and travel to a new country?
I didn’t really think about the gravity of how lucky I am to be American (most people seem to like us just because; not saying it’s right but…) and to grow up speaking English. I already gained so much just from my native language. Yet, I could barely be bothered to learn Spanish in High School. Sure, it was fun, and I took it because it was required, but I didn’t really take it seriously. Not sticking with it, is one of those regrets you see years after. I am assuming there are a remarkable amount of people who can relate to that.
And YET ~ there are a lot of native Spanish speakers in Wisconsin. It couldn’t have been that hard to find them right… as real life application and experience is what drives us.
I had a Chinese graphic art professor in college. She had an accent and sometimes it was difficult to understand her. A common complaint from students was why should I have a teacher I can’t even understand? I can’t learn properly from this person.
I think this too funny because if you can’t learn from someone who is literally being paid to teach you because YOU can’t be bothered to ask that person to repeat something, what are you going to do when you get out into the real working world? If anything, let’s thank someone who has traveled extreme lengths to live in …Wisconsin… where they know no one, where they’re speaking their second language, and where we can have the opportunity to communicate with someone who is different from us.
Maybe some of my students feel the same about me. I sure as hell know there are times they don’t understand me at all.
I used to think that it was a weird phenomenon that students just stopped talking, and stood there, frozen like they got caught in a 3-second-long glacier, when they didn’t know what to say / couldn’t understand.
But now, I realize that Americans do so much of this.
We think we shouldn’t have to deal with someone because they have an accent.
We don’t even try to help or fight through the communication barriers if we come across someone who speaks a different language. We simply say, “Speak English or Get Out!” or “Go back to your country!”
We don’t freeze physically or verbally. But mentally, we are frozen and most of all, we are uncomfortable and scared. And from these two things, suddenly the glacier melts as soon as it has come, but what comes gushing out is hot, dark, ugly things like hate and ignorance.
Why are we so threatened by the unknown? Why are we so happy in our comfort? I say we because, like it or not, we represent our country. And when a few people screw it up — it tarnishes it for the rest of us.
And who decided that, in the USA, YOU SHOULD SPEAK ENGLISH. By the way, the USA doesn’t even have a national language. (Seriously, just Google it.) In fact, the biggest push for standardized language is because of schooling and government.
So really, if you don’t like the government, you should be extremely happy to be living in a multi-lingual society.
After all, this is AMERICA. So, of course, we need more. We need more languages, more culture, more people, more growth and more ways of doing things. More, just more.
Not one language, not one custom, not one way. But more. More of all of it.