Friday, July 3, 2009

The Single Most Important Attribute of a Successful Language Learner


That is the single most important characteristic of a good language learner. After all, most of us were children when we learned our first language. We were inquisitive, uninhibited, playful, adventurous, creative, teachable, and humble. As children, most of us accepted a certain amount of ambiguity, relied on context, and became fluent before ever entering a classroom or having a formal teacher.

So, the recommendation that we have received here at CIT in our Second Language Acquisition Course is to be willing to become like a child again. Really, in learning another language, we don't have much of a choice. We will not know big, fancy words. We will not be able to discuss complex topics. We will, essentially, speak and understand at a young child's level. And progress will not be quick.

And in all this, I see only good news...for I will have a very rare opportunity at incarnational living. When God Himself entered the culture of humanity He became a baby. He, who could've started at the top, chose to begin at the bottom. As a child.

And He recommended this course of action for those who desired to follow Him into the kingdom:

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-5

So I say, with all my heart, "Thank you, Lord, for this amazing opportunity to humble myself and become like a child."

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