Why learn a language?

They often say that if you want to learn something new and be engaged in the learning process, then you got to know the answer to the “why” question. For many, their answer to the question “Why learn a language?” is that by learning languages, more doors will open to you, and they are not wrong. For me, learning a language is a process of falling in love with that country’s culture. Sometimes it’s the musical lilt and the emotions within the spoken language that first captures my interest in the language.

For example, Swedish has this gentle, musical lilt to it, that I catch myself quite often getting distracted by when I swear Swedish being spoken. Same case for Swiss-German.

Dutch has an honest, blunt quality to it if you get past the guttural sounds.¬†Every time I have heard Persian and Arabic, it’s the passion and the range of emotions that colour the language that captures me.

Learning languages not only open doors to new opportunities, it also opens doors into understanding not only the culture of that country in a more deeper manner but it also allows you to understand yourself better too. Since undergoing the journey to become a languages teacher, I’ve had to re-evaluate my own language learning journey, and in many ways, understand what makes me so passionate about learning languages.

Yes, it comes from growing up in a multi-lingual family, but it also comes from an openness to explore life, and in a small way, humanity. Being open to learning different languages, I have learnt to be open to understanding different people, and in the process, learn to be a more empathetic and better teacher.

So, for me, learning languages has never been about ticking a box to achieve better things, but rather it’s about the introspective, philosophical understanding of humanity.

That is why I learn languages.

Yours,

Sophia
xx

 

liebeheart-teaching-narrative

Stories and identities

Narratives. They are what defines where you’ve come from and where you want to go.

It is a central part of your identity. Each story that is told by others to you shapes your narrative little by little as you make meaning of their story.

Stories are how you navigate the many paths to get where you are now. They are how you connect with people who might have taken a similar path or those who simply want to understand you.

Stories are what makes teachers who they are. Get a teacher to tell you a story of a class they taught, then you glimpse a summary of who they are.

Stories will tell you the hopes, fears and beliefs of the storyteller. We make meaning out of life through stories.

One of my uni tasks this week was to reflect on our own teacher’s identity, our own narrative. Sitting in a classroom, with people whose narrative seem to have been created quite easily, I felt myself asking – “What is my story? What’s my teacher’s identity?”

When my professional identities include a communications professional, a journalist by training, and an economist.

How do you melt these professional identities into a teacher’s identity?

I find myself asking myself in dark moments: “Can I call myself an economics teacher? A media teacher? A teacher?”

But this morning, I had a realisation.

Yes. Yes, I can call myself a teacher.

Because I’ve always been a teacher. It’s always been hidden in my personal narrative.

I remember being young, sitting next to mum as she was marking assignments and essays. Being allowed to spellcheck her PhD drafts as a child. Making my scribble marks in red pen as a toddler on mum and dad’s postgraduate work. (Unconsciously marking their work perhaps?)

I remember being 13 and teaching my baby sister how to say words. I remember helping her with her homework during primary school.

I remember teaching media relation workshops during university.

So I can say I’m a teacher because I’ve always been one.

What my teacher’s identity is, what my narrative is, is something I’m discovering more and more as I embark on my DipEd.

I don’t have a fully formed “this is my narrative” yet, and I don’t know (yet) what it encapsulates but I do know this:

I am an economics and a media teacher. I am a teacher because I want to teach kids something I’m passionate in. I am a teacher because I always want to encourage learning in our kids.

Yours,
Sophia x

(Feature Image taken by Steven Chew Photography.)