There is no easy way to learn a new language, what with the cultural and psychological barriers we would have to overcome. Learning a new language is attainable but requires a lot of hard work and dedication to the learning process.
I have recently gone to a networking event at the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in London. As a Communication Consultant who helps non-native English speakers communicate more confidently in international business, I thought I had to walk the talk and speak Portuguese.
Being a linguist does put you in a minority amongst native English speakers. I guess I've been in a little comprehension bubble by mainly traveling in countries in which I speak the lingo. All that changed when I moved to Greece.
New technologies and resourceful school districts will only get us so far. We need policymakers to prioritize language education so that America's students -- and our entire economy -- can reach their full potential.
Because the way we talk is deeply enmeshed with how we think, feel and act in the world, our critiques of how others speak are frequently a smoke-screen for our critiques about other aspects of their lives.
We've found the best way to do this is to place your kids into a local school immediately upon arrival, something we like to call world schooling. Here are some of the things we've learned about our version of world schooling.
You can't just take your kid on a vacation to Spain and consider your work done, nor can you sign up for a language course during sophomore year of college and check "global mindset" off your to-do list. Developing a global mindset should begin before birth and continue for a lifetime.
A new initiative at the International Institute of Education is sparking conversation, asking us how we can increase the cultural awareness in our students and encourage them to learn in environments outside of their comfort zone.
Our expectations about learning languages are, quite frankly, odd, and ads like "Learn French (or Spanish, or Galician) in 10 Days" pander to them. While these ads might help sell language-learning programs, they reinforce false expectations.
Learning a language is a commitment. It takes years to become truly proficient, and even then there will be yet more to learn. (I'm still learning new words and cultural references in English, and I've been speaking it since I was in diapers.)
Calls like these for retributive cultural justice miss their mark because they paint the world with the smallest strokes possible, strokes that make the lines of the world appear clean, sharp and perfectly discernible. The truth, however, is that the world looks much more like a Jackson Pollack.
We must take care of our well-being, cultivate our wisdom, maintain our sense of wonder and show our willingness to give. The combination of these four pillars can help us enjoy the ride -- enjoy the process of learning, acquiring new knowledge and investing in our human capital.
Helping children develop their language supports their ability to communicate and express their feelings and better understand yours. Learning to use and understand language is the first vital step towards literacy, providing the basis for learning to read and write.