If you want to build a ship, don’t gather people together to collect wood and son’t asign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This quote is posted on the cork board next to my teacher desk. It’s a reminder for many things, but in the language classroom in particular it reminds me that my ultimate job is to teach students to want to learn languages.

When I remember that my job is to teach them to want to learn languages, that, in turn, reminds me to celebrate every success.

When I’m focused on celebrating every success, it fills my students with confidence and our classroom with smiles.

When everyone smiles, we all belong.

When we all belong, we all relax.

When we all relax, our minds subconsciously open to new learning.

When our minds are open to new learning, compelling, comprehensible input flows and students forget we are speaking another language.

When we’re lost in the moment, we are in a state of FLOW.

When we’re in FLOW students are absorbing the structure of the language without trying.

When students absorb complex linguistic structure without trying, their brain creates a “mental representation” of language.

When students have mental representation, it allows them to produce language spontaneously.

When students produce meaningful language spontaneously, they see themselves as the natural-born language learners they really are.

When they see themselves as language learners, students have the desire to improve.

When students want to improve, we have successfully taught them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Teach Them to Long for the Sea

5 thoughts on “Teach Them to Long for the Sea

  • September 14, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    i love this! I am going to start my presentation with it on Thursday!

  • September 14, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    What wonderful food for thought!! I absolutely love it! Longing to learn a language is like longing for the sea and that is a perfect description of what we truly want for our students– to long to learn!! Thank you for such an inspiring and thought provoking post!

  • September 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Many layers of important things to remember here. Nice Job

  • September 14, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    this is absolutely beautiful Grant. A raison d’être for our whole clan. I would even go so far as to call it a poetic manifesto. I hope it spreads like wildfire.

  • November 23, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    That is a great tip especially to those
    new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info… Thank
    yyou for sharing this one. A must read article!

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