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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Compulsory Chinese

So far, I've been keeping up with my New Years Resolution #1, to study Chinese with more focus. I've been posting lessons every day on my website Language in Real Life, as well as regularly posting my writing on Lang-8. & I still meet with my language exchange partner once a week to study Chinese & Spanish together.

Last week at work, we got an email from the boss: Since we work in the language learning field, everyone has to study & improve their second language (be it Chinese or English), & we have to do it during work hours. Sweet! I'm getting paid to learn Chinese! Is my job great or what?

I agree with my boss that being a language student gives you a perspective on teaching a language that being bilingual just doesn't give you. If you can speak two langauges fluently, you're no longer a language learner but a language speaker, so your learner empathy is muted.

As a Spanish teacher, I think I lost sight of the struggles, joys & frustrations of learning a language. But now that I'm learning Chinese, I am reminded of what it's like to be a language student. I am able to take my successes & failures in my own learning & apply them to the lessons that I'm writing for English learners, thereby using class time in a much more productive way.

I'm so glad that I've found a job where I can make these kinds of discoveries, where my boss encourages my hobbies & my co-workers actually enjoy shooting the breeze about language structures. Now if only I can get them to let me work remotely (New Years Resolution #2).


scott said...

That *is* a sweet deal. Getting paid for something you want to do anyway?? Nice! So now that you will be doing some studying at work, will continue with your other study sessions or free up that time for other adventures?

Nancy Lewis said...

I see these at-work Chinese classes as an unexpected bonus, so I'm going to stick to the original plan, plus this. I hope to really make some headway with it!