Friday, November 6, 2009

How to Become the Ideal Learner

Most learners focus most of their time on learning language skills, including grammar, writing, and reading, without regard to other equally important aspects. Too often, I have seen students who have learned a great deal about the language, but lack the cultural sensitivity to effectively interact with people. Someone once said that a person who speaks a language, but doesn't know the culture is a fluent fool.

Unfortunately, most students don't fully realize that they don't live in a vacuum. In other words, they often don't realize that culture and language go hand in hand. You can't divorce the two. As you learn the culture of another people, you become a more effective communicator and a more sensitive person overall.

How do you feel about this?

Randall

4 comments:

  1. That is right. Learning language is learning its culture, something that many of us ( students ) do not know more.

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  2. Hi Randall and everyone,

    This is an interesting topic. I fully agree with you Randall that there's much more to learning a language than just its structure. Knowing the culture of the target language is also key to becoming a more effective communicator - as you nicely said - lots of students, and even teachers I might say, lack cultural sensitivity.

    Ideally, every language learner should be culturally aware of the differences (and also similarities)of the target culture/language and their own. I can't think of any other way to be culturally fluent than having the chance to talk to native speakers of the language and being fully immersed in the target language culture.

    What do you think? Are there any other ways to become more culturally aware? Please share your ideas with us here. :-)

    Best,
    Bruno
    Brazil

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  3. I recently took a entire year of Spanish during the summer. The teacher was from Chile. Every week we would have a new part of the language to work on but we also had a new country to study. We looked at the culture, how words differ from country to country and the history of that country. By looking at all those different countries while learning the language I think we were able to have a better understanding of how the language is connected to the culture. It also helped that our teacher was from another country and could share her experiences as a learner of English.

    Guest speakers or having things from another country for students to hold and touch would be another way for them to make more connections. Trying food from other countries is always a big hit as well.

    Thanks,

    Lisa

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  4. Unfortunately I just learned how culture is so important when I came to London. I studied english in Brazil for 3 years but I didn't really learned a lot exactly because they didn't teach the culture as well. Fortunately London is a very cultural place so, I'm learning much more and enjoying all the steps.

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Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.

Best,

Randall