After being in Japan for eight months now and deciding only about two months ago that I would take my Japanese language studies seriously, I realized that learning a new language is a lot like being a kid again. Why?
1. Mistakes are inevitable, so it’s best to get comfortable in making them…a lot of them. So like a kid (or the average kid I guess), you’ve got to not worry about making mistakes because it is through them that you’ll really learn.
2. I noticed that when I am speaking to my kids (my students), I understand them, and it is because they are speaking simply. As of right now, I understand best when simple Japanese is being spoken.
3. Because of the above, I’ve been utilizing Children’s books to practice my reading. One, I can barely read Kanji, and two, again, simple Japanese is used, which means I am more likely to be able to read what’s written, which would give me the confidence to develop my reading and understanding.
4. I’ve been asking a LOT of questions.
5. I’m a student.
6. Things have to be repeated to me.
7. Sometimes, my hands need to be held. Sometimes, I need encouragement.
8. Pictures help me learn!
9. I have a lot of fun learning when playing is involved where I can utilize the knowledge I’ve gained!
This whole process reminds me of that one song from the movie The Little Prince, where it totally brings out the kid in me (and helps remind me to approach this whole learning-a-new-language business with child-like wonder):
Turnaround – The Little Prince, English version +…: http://youtu.be/Pd9FYOTIu0Q
So yeah, basically I’m a kid again. And I love it!