The legendary Brazilian footballer known as Dr. Socrates brings us this quote:

Beauty comes first.
Victory is secondary.
What matters is JOY.

Apply this progression to Novice-level language classes and it might look something like this:

Beauty comes first.

Beauty is communicating about real and meaningful things in the target language from day 1.

Beauty is allowing a novice to be what the novice is – an interpreter of language.

Beauty is scaffolding language in such a way as to allow learners to express meaning with limited language.

Victory is secondary.

Victory is a focus on right and wrong instead of expression of meaning.

Victory is pressure to produce language beyond one’s ability.

Victory is a competitive mindset applied to a communal experience.

What matters is JOY.

Joy is being in the moment, in the language, communicating with and about the people in your presence.

Joy makes all students feel like speakers of the target language before they really are.

Joy sends the message to students that they were made to learn languages.

Joy drives desire to invest time and energy into more language learning.

What matters is JOY.

What Matters is Joy

3 thoughts on “What Matters is Joy

  • June 7, 2016 at 10:34 am
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    Beautifully said Grant. The analogy isn’t a stretch. I’ve always thought what we are doing in our classrooms is much like a fun yet focused game of kick-the-ball-back-and-forth. They have to get it back to us somehow in order for us to keep playing. They can stop it (understand) and throw it back with their hands (respond in L1 or non-verbally) or they can kick it back (respond in L2) with whatever level of variation and skill they are compelled and able to.

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  • June 2, 2017 at 11:51 am
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    Grant,
    At times when I am feeling overwhelmed by this end of the year teaching I think of this quote. It’s a good reminder. Merci
    Jeanne Comeford

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