“Language is a performing art that requires practice, nuance, and personality to convey an idea. Those who master communication master their world.”
Michael Schutzler, CEO of Livemocha
I love doing my English conversation classes! Students are very keen and sociable and, despite having a very basic level of English, it’s amazing how they manage to get their point across in a way or another.
There is one student who always stands out among them all. He’s an 18 years old boy from Turkey, called Ramazan. Ramazan doesn’t stand out because of his variety of vocabulary. And he doesn’t even stand out for getting his sentences always right. Ramazan stands out because of his grit.
He tries hard to communicate, regardless of the fact that he may or may not know a particular word. And if he doesn’t know he’s not afraid to ask. Ramazan tries things out, speaks up, gets it wrong, brushes it off, laughs with us and keeps going. He stands up, draws something on the board and asks “what’s the name of this, Ermy ?”, “Is it correct?”. He is always ready to learn more and put what he learns into practice.
Finally, he encourages the others to join in and speak out too. Because he intrinsically knows that someone can become fluent in a language only by speaking it.
Ramazan is an example of how someone can communicate in a foreign language regardless of their level.
He is the evidence that knowing a specific word is not essential to communicate effectively.
He is also the evidence that a strong desire to learn can make you braver, more eager and more creative as it is always possible to find a way to get your point across (creatively!).
It’s all about your communication skills rather than your language skills. And language skills without communication skills are useless.
You may learn the whole Oxford dictionary, but if you aren’t brave enough to speak out, you’ll never do much with those words.
You may know all the grammar rules in this world, but if you don’t practise your speaking because you’re afraid of making mistakes, you’ll never become fluent.
You may wait until you know how to pronounce a sentence perfectly before saying it out loud in front of a native speaker, but how do you know if you’re saying it right, if you don’t try it?
So, be like Ramazan.
Be brave. Speak up.
Get things wrong and brush it off.
Don’t beat yourself up. Laugh it off.
Make mistakes and learn from them.
Learn more and keep practicing.
Don’t wait until you’re ready to speak, because, the truth is, you’ll be ready only once you’ve started!
Don’t hold back. Have fun speaking.
Speak up like Ramazan!
P.S. I’m curious! If you feel that something is blocking you from speaking the language you are learning, what do you think it is? Tell me in the comments below, maybe I can help!