Having children is a moment of personal growth for everyone. For many it’s something even unexpected and arises out of necessity. While that is all fine as nature has intended, there is big difference in truly embracing the experience and to do it purely out of the necessity. Adults have a lot of non-productive habbits, especially when it comes to learning new things. The mind is already crowded with so much information, when new things are best learned with a blank mind. Such is the mind of a child and it’s beautiful how they have the ability to absorb languages like a sponge.
The big misunderstanding is that this is a power that only children posess. When in fact, children have come to this world to remind us of the unlimited capabilities we all have. With languages this comes out very strongly. Instead of adults being motivated by the skills of their own siblings, it builds a gap between knowledge. This is nothing more than the refusal of accepting new information in a new way. That is why kids can give us a second change, to start learning all those languages we always have wanted to.
My findings are very much connected to ideas that sparked from our many travels to China. In the attempt to learn Chinese, I have been fortunate enough to find the Michel Thomas Foundation. When looking for efficient ways to learn languages, language is like food for the mind. Children who are less extroverted can take longer to learn to speak. This is because it’s all about putting what you have learned to use and go trough constant trial and error. While understanding that one needs to get rid of their inhibitions and become more in tune with the natural world around them… as adults, it’s not as simple as flipping a switch. That’s why we need a good teacher. A good teacher will know how to learn Chinese fast by themselves and transmit this knowledge to the pupil in a skilled, thoughtfull manner.
Learning together with Michel is just something beautiful and it takes you back to your childhood. But lately with the absence of such good teachers that understand these vital, and “childish” language learning methods are few. Which is why searching around the internet for how to learn mandarin will yield in so many independent ways. These are great, but even more great is when you can combine self taught methods with a solid language foundation that has been simply given to you without any homework or memorizing. This is the most natural and the most fast way to learn Chinese or any other language, to simply understand it and put it to use immediately.
It’s like child first learns how to ride a bicycle. It’s that very first “a-ha!” moment when the child has understood how to ride it. After that the process of mastering the skill is only a matter of putting it into use. Us adults in many situations, not just when it comes to mandarin, skip this important first step and go directly to supposedly trying to practice the language. And even during practiced we are not really open and passionate about just going out there and trying that newly learned skill. It’s because we are not excited enough and feel such tasks are difficult or bothersome. This is the kind of attitude that stops us from doing such amazing new things, that could give us a whole new view into socializing with local people in a foreign country such as China.
Hope my words help to encourage, because we need to wake up and become children again!