Accepting Breeds Better Communication
Being used to the fact that it’s difficult for my students to cope with some phenomena of English grammar that do not exist in Russian language I’ve invented the whole arsenal of different methods, metaphors, analogies to help them understand the material. Not until much later did I understand what that thing that impeded the process was.
During one of the lessons a student of mine asked a question that made me change my approach to language teaching. Trying to pronounce / θ / sound» she said: «Which Russian sounds is it similar to? Is it more like /f/ or /s/». She was refusing to accept that there could be some other notions in other languages that existed independently of her first language.
Why is it so difficult for language learners to accept and put up with the fact that other languages have different sentences structures, or some nouns’ genders don’t coincide with those of the nouns in L1 or might not have any grammatical gender at all. You, experienced language learners, might not be familiar with these thoughts. But a lot of my students do think so and you might recognise your students here as well.
So why don’t we, when teaching or learning a language start with introducing it to the students or perceiving it as a living being with its soul, character, it’s peculiarities? Introduce it like that, discover and celebrate all the differences and accept them without questioning the way we accept other people, without judging and comparing.