Please, (Feel Free To) Be Quiet – Part 2

Wrong, this is not the end. I mean, we will eventually need to speak in order to… speak a (foreign) language: should I really point out the obvious (obvious-but-not-that-easy)? Yes, we will need to make aneffort. But. It doesn’t need to be NOW, in front of all these people you don’t actually know. It doesn’t need to be at the very moment your brain just stops doing its job because of the external circumstances, when breathing seems a hard enough task, and you feel like you haven’t had any experience in your life, any ideas, anything relevant (or even dumb) to share – plus you seem to have completely forgotten how to articulate sounds.

The point is: you will need to overcome your fears, the “language-student’s-block”, but if you don’t feel like it quite yet or here and now, feel free not to. Please feel free to be quiet. Your time will come and there is no need to try behaving in a way which doesn’t suit you or helps your learning process in class or in general.

Don’t misbehave or prevent the teacher or the others to go their way, don’t evangelize as a professor of mine put it, but don’t feel forced to follow blindly. Talk to the teacher, write a message, give a private feedback. Everyone has the right to be guided and considered in the learning process. Be patient, it IS hard work for the teacher and for you.

Meanwhile… try and be your own teacher. Pick a shop or flight assistant whose face you like. Whom you feel comfortable to approach and talk to. Rehearse your question. Write it down. Go over and over the scene, consider all the “what ifs”, all the possible answers, scenarios… Then, jump. You will need to jump, but there is no shame in jumping safe. When you feel comfortable, level up – at your pace. Since you will probably feel like you failed, just don’t let that feeling stop you from trying again. Reconsider, overthink, re-rehearse. Try again. Don’t be afraid of opening your mouth with big motivation and deep focus, and… switching to English (or any other language you already mastered); or just… turn around and leave. The other person won’t think about you a second longer, so no worries. Nobody really cares. There is no shame in giving it a try within a “comfort spot” (and maybe fail). There is no shame in not wanting to speak for a long, looong time in the hope to “limit the damage”. Of course, be aware: it probably won’t be perfect anyways, your long-prepared question, speech or answer. But I think that, at that point, having done your best, you will be fine with your mistakes, right? Especially, if someone is there to help you to not make them again. And we are 😉

Oh, about that, teachers, please: we are not all over-excited about or feel entitled to speak up, speak our mind, share stories, group work, leave our comfort zone and put ourselves out there. Try to keep that in mind and adjust… It will be just fine.

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