You try on a pair of jeans that don't fit, what is your response?
A.) You try on another size
B.) You try on a different style or brand?
C.) You decide there is something wrong with you. You need to change your body to fit into the jeans and make a plan to lose 10 pounds.
D.) You give up and wear jogging pants.
Today I started Japanese language study (after missing 3 classes due to influenza). I took a placement test last week and was placed in a class today. It was level 4. (there are 10 levels, 1 being the lowest). The class started with a 漢字テスト。(Kanji test - recognizing a Japanese system of writing based on borrowed or modified Chinese characters). A test I tried to take - despite the fact that I'd never learned these kanji. The class continued with 3 hours of worksheets, reading, listening, writing and tests covering material I have never studied.
I started with some great self-talk,
"It's ok Lori, You just haven't learned this, YET!"
"It's ok Lori, kanji is your weak area, wait until they get to the listening part, you can do this."
"It takes time to adjust to a new teacher and curriculum, this is just day one, give yourself time."
I even brought out my teacher voice, "Just do your best with what you do know, and be sure to preview the material for tomorrow."
But eventually it was like mental exercise just to stay positive, "I should know this. I've lived in this country long enough, I should know this by now." I had to keep fighting negative thoughts and lies.
Eventually I realized - if I was trying on jeans I wouldn't try to jam my leg into a pair that was way to small. I wouldn't start a diet and try to fit into the jeans by the next day. And I wouldn't give up. I would look for a different size, a better fit for me. So, after class I talked (in Japanese) with the head teacher about my impression of the level of class and made plans for tomorrow to try level 3.
Language learning is not easy. The language I'm trying to learn is not easy (see chart below). As an adult, having your communication skills reduced to that of a child is a very humbling experience. But I desire to be able to participate in Japanese conversations. I want to be able to talk about the deep and surface topics in this land where I'm now living. I want to be able to read my mail. I want to have conversations with my students' parents without a translator. I need to remember my motivation as I combat the negative thoughts that creep in. But, I think for now, I'll continue to pray that God would help guide my learning and guard my thoughts with this challenging task.
Via: Voxy Blog
Have you hugged a language learner, today?
(Or at least said something encouraging to someone trying to learn a new language?)