As promised, we are going to summarize all the things we do wrong, which are especially the things babies do absolutely right when they’re learning a language!
As seen on the post dedicated to babies, they are experts learning languages as they totally control the situation at all times, but they do without knowing, and they let their Dormant Giants drive them anywhere.
1 Babies don’t know where they are going, you pretend you do
The first consideration you must have is not having any about learning a language. Unless you are an experienced language teacher, you must be humble enough to admit you know nothing.
Babies are never arrogant, and they never pretend they know something if they don’t know it. They could get angry if we don’t let them play with something they can break, but they’re never arrogant.
As adults, we pretend we know what we are doing at all times, even if you’ve never heard a word of French but you are in a French class for the first time, you pretend you are a very good students, you copy all words on your notepads and pretend you control the situation. Then you are sending the wrong message to your subconscious mind, and you are not the baby caveman willing to belong to a group, but an Alpha male or woman defending a territory.
Come on and be a baby! Don’t be arrogant!
2 Babies are never worried to fail, you are
I love telling my students they are afraid, basically because they all reply they’re not. However; after a question in the class, the most I get is silence.
Fear of success, fear of failure or no matter how you want to call it, a baby is only scared when they see a dog or feel alone, but when it comes to a language, they would babble, they would scream and they would say things wrongly and they couldn’t care less!
There’s no learning without mistakes, and silence to avoid a mistake can only lead you to failure. Have you ever seen a baby in silence for a long while?
Come on you guys, be my babies! Takes chances and risk yourselves, you’ll expand your comfort zone.
3 Babies are never in a competition, you compete
When all your classmates are very bad, if you are a bit better, you don’t always want to express your ideas or show your activities, as if they were going to stop talking to you because your are different.
If your classmates are very good and you feel discouraged because of this, you don’t want to speak either because you will be left behind…
But you are wrong in both cases. A baby is never in a competition or pretending they are in a contest. Babies have a clear challenge, to learn a language, no matter what others think or do. A baby’s mind is so pure they don’t care about being naked, wetting their pants in public or talking out loud.
Education has changed us, but you should know something, unless you become a baby again in some circumstances, you will never learn a foreign language. You cannot go against nature trying to get a better result than your classmate in an examination.
Come on! Start playing for once and be a baby!
4 Babies imitate, you keep your mouth shut
No matter how, say a bad word in front of a two-year old and wait until he uses that word anywhere and when least expected. But their minds want them to use that word, because even though if it’s a prohibited one, which might feel even more attractive, they need to repeat to learn the word.
Words are not learnt when copied on the margin of your book or on your notepads, words are learnt when they’re spoken and used in real contexts! Imitate your teachers, imitate actors, imitate singers, imitate TV presenters or imitate your neighbours, but DO IMITATE!
5 Babies are most of the time happy! You get worried
Teenagers and adults get worried about exams, results, economy, mortgages, VAT, and about the coulour of walls. Even young children can get worried as they get all this influence from their parents.
When well fed and taken care, have you ever seen an angry baby? I haven’t. Being happy is the key to learning, if you get worried, the Dormant Giant will think you are in danger and so on your cognitive and learning channels will close in order to scape from the threat.
Learning must always be a happy process, and if you are not worried of mistakes, why should you be worried about anything at all? If you make a mistake, you get a blessing as you’ve discovered something you must study harder, if you teacher asks you something you don’t know, say a funny thing as a baby would and at least you’d be trying it, not keeping silence or saying any excuse!
Well, there are more things in order to differenciate adults and babies when learning a language, but these five are among the most obvious ones. Do you fail one, two, three… maybe all of them?
There’s no problem at all, don’t blame yourself. First step is to recognise it, second, to stop doing it! Some people would ask me how, but for a baby, the difficult thing could be to do something, never not to do anything… so just be a baby.
Thanks for keeping Thinking!