Na Tamil Pesena Ni Bayenderave!

on Monday, 19 July 2010
Let's be frank. Learning something foreign is scary. It's not just scary, it's very difficult. Imagine me trying to learn Tamil. It's not completely out of context and something foreign as our country has a lot of Tamil speakers. It isn't something completely out of the question as well because there are plenty of teachers who are excellent in teaching the subject as well..

... but if you told me to write an essay in Tamil in not less than 350 words...

I think I'll just stare blankly as I read the topic of the supposed essay:

The Bachan family empire.

 OK, maybe the topic is taking it a little too far off... but I don't see any difference in difficulty of that topic or...

My Favourite Hindi Movie.

Therefore, we have to put ourselves in this position and understand that to some kids, this is the situation. They've heard of English before; they know that there are materials somewhere that can be accessed if they tried; they know that there are people who they can speak to; they know that there are even TV shows that they could tune into if they wanted to get some form of exposure (hint: Thangathirai).

Proof that being funny pays off

So, I find it somewhat interesting when I try to motivate and show to my students that learning a new language shouldn't be too stressful because it can't be done just within the classroom. In the classroom, I show them how they can acquire and learn the language on their own by showing them how it can be done. It's not going to be solid enough if they just treat that language practice session as the only time where they learn and try to improve.

Motivating and showing them a good time helps

I end up showing them the way. I don't teach in that sense. I'm just telling them how to learn by themselves. Sort of like a guide. A tour guide doesn't really educate a tourist about his surroundings. He just shows them around and tells them about the place and the background... maybe a short history (if you get a nice dude) of the place. Then it's up to you if you feel that place is interesting and deserves further attention, if you'd want to write up about the place or further inquire for more information.

If I was forced to speak in Tamil or write in Tamil when doing all these things, I'm sure there will be significant improvement as time passes me by. I might not master native like capabilities but I'm pretty sure communicative situations won't be that big a problem. My students need to know that the first thing that has to happen is to feel motivated in learning the language.

Na English Pesena Ni Bayenderave!


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