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Don't skirt the mindset issue

Time: 2019-03-23 10:21cheongsam dress Click:


By Adam Borowski

Don't skirt the mindset issue

 
Let me present you with seven scenarios.

1. You're walking around the mall. You're immersed in thought. Suddenly, you hear a song in English. It turns out you hear a word you don't know the meaning of. You do a Google search. Song lyrics, newspaper articles, books - you expand your vocabulary in English whenever you can. Call it a constructive compulsion.


2. You're waiting for a friend at the airport. You glance at the flight information screen. You put earphones in your ears and listen to one of your favorite lectures on parallel universes. It's certainly more productive than listening to the same song a hundred times.

3. You overhear a conversation in English. Your ears instantly perk up. What's the accent? Is it American? German? What are they talking about? It's not that you're interested in the lives of strangers ― it's just your innate linguistic curiosity.

4. You practice English with your international friends. Your Korean friends never join you ― they always come up with excuses not to. You know they're ashamed of their English. You, on the other hand, welcome comments and language corrections. You never pass up the chance to practice English. Networking is a bonus.

5. When you expand your horizons in English ― you feel alive. English isn't just another part of your otherwise uneventful 9-5 daily grind. English isn't just a school necessity. English is an integral part of your life.

6.Your friend tells you there's no need to speak fluent English in Korea. He can communicate ― and that's enough for him. That's what he says, anyway, but he then goes on to complain his English is a source of humiliation. You're not content with mediocrity ― you want to master English. You know it's a strategic investment in your life. You also know speaking general English isn't enough.

7. Your friend tells you that English is losing prominence in the world ― he's going to focus solely on Mandarin instead. This kind of reasoning makes no sense to you. The UN has six official languages, but guess which language is the liaison? Exactly. Your high level of English has actually contributed to your fluency in five other languages.

Do these seven scenarios describe your mindset? If not - then you'll never be an excellent English speaker. If you want to master English, because your parents want you to get into Harvard, then the motivation isn't your own. It's a marvelous motivation ― as long as it's aligned with your own. Parents sometimes want to live vicariously through their children. Your success is their success. If mastering English isn't really your goal ― you'll always feel discordant with yourself, because you're like a horse jumping through hoops on command. Confucian culture ― in particular ― teaches unquestioning obedience to your parents, so it's best to ensure your aims align with your parents' aims. English is everywhere. It's not some obscure language of secret societies which meet sub-rosa. Your poor English skills are a reflection of your poor mindset.
So don't skirt the mindset issue.


Adam Borowski (adam.borowski1985@gmail.com) is a technical Polish-English translator, and a business English teacher. He worked in China.


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