Language Learning and the Art of Making Mistakes

Acabé de terminar mi examen de midterm en Español. I just finished my midterm exam in Spanish. There is so much anxiety that comes with having to write an essay in a short amount of time. More so, in a different language.

The following is what I wrote for my midterms in under thirty minutes.

La imagen y aspecto físico en las redes sociales es muy necesario para considerar. El internet es un lugar público, que cada foto, video, o escritura ha recordado. Este nos hace blancos fáciles para criticar las nuestras vidas. Alguna gente diría que no debemos escuchar a criticismos sobre nuestra imagen, pero podemos aprender a pagar una atención a la imagen.

En primero, es más útil pensar que las redes sociales como una extensión de la vida física. Normalmente, escribimos nuestras experiencias y compartimos nuestras fotos o videos sin pensando de las consecuencias. Me parece increíble que alguno gente sea tan cándido sobre lo. En mi experiencia, yo compartí mi foto en una fiesta donde estaba muy borracho. Cuando empieza a enseñar en la universidad, alguien envió este mismo foto con el título, “¡El Señor Maestro estaba habiendo un buen tiempo!” Actualmente, aun hasta que ahora, me da tan vergüenza cuando pienso sobre lo.

Mi aconsejo es muy simple: Piensa antes de cliquear. El internet, especialmente las redes sociales, no está un lugar amistoso. Pero, si usaba prudentemente, ellas pueden estar instrumentos divertidos. Por ejemplo, yo uso el Twitter para enseñar el público sobre la historia de la medicina, los animales, y las enfermedades. Además comparto algunos artículos sobre la sanidad humana y animal. Saber tu motivación y razón es muy esencial para sobrevivir en las redes sociales.

Si decides participar en las redes sociales, te deseo que seas prudente y te diviertas!

Actually, the above is a post-exam edited version of an absurdly illegible one. The more that I look into it, the more that I see what I should improve on. And the more that I think about it, the more that I could not sleep.

An essay requires composition. A logical flow with organized argumentation, coherence and clarity, like an unimpeded river into the stream. However, as an exercise in grammar, I became more preoccupied with syntax, subject-verb agreement, tenses, etc, than with aesthetics. The rules stumped me from expressing what I wanted to do, and I had to second-guess my prepositions for every sentence. Given my limited vocabulary, I had certain moments when I forgot the conjugation of certain verbs which I find utterly unforgivable.

As soon as I pressed the submit button, I realized my errors too late. And so, I spiral into the vicious cycle of regret-looking up in the dictionary-regret.

But it is this precise moment which makes language learning an important skill. Apart from learning the language itself, it imparts the values of resilience and humility. Primarily, it puts a learner in a vulnerable position to be understood by grasping everything in one’s arsenal and throwing it to the listener, hoping that one would be understood. As one who is learning a language at this age, I am thinking like an adult while communicating like a toddler.

And no matter how embarrassing or humiliating things are communicated, the experience allows us to fall and stand back again, much like how a toddler tries to stand and walk and fall over and over again, until it is able to do so properly.

An article by Canadian linguist Steve Kaufmann in the Huffington Post explains that:

Each time you make a mistake, in writing or speaking, or are aware that you didn’t use the language as well as you would have liked, is an opportunity to improve. It means you are noticing aspects of the language. You don’t have to get everything right, but you need to focus on noticing how the language works. You might get something right one time and get it wrong the next time. That is all good. You now may start noticing these things when you listen and read. As long as you are trying to notice the language and not allowing yourself to get upset over mistakes, you will improve. The mistakes will correct themselves eventually with enough exposure, but only when your brain is ready.

Language learning presents a unique challenge on skill and values that can have long term effects on one’s personal development. This is much needed at a time when problems and difficulties are seen as insurmountable, in crises that appear to have no end, and in situations that require crossing boundaries. The mistakes that occur in learning any language is inevitable and universal, but learning from these towards improvement is very human.

I am still waiting for the results of the midterms. I am prepared for the worse. Pero tambien estoy preparado para aprendar mucho de lo.

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