WORDS OF THE DAY: Extrovert (n)/Extroverted (adj) – Introvert (n)/Introverted (adj)
Language invents us and makes us and confuses us but most importantly it shifts and changes us. With each new language you learn, you become a new person with a new personality and identity. The reason why I love to learn other languages (French, Spanish, Russian, Czech, Mandarin) is so that I can become a new person, a re-invented Bob, a Bob that isn’t comfortable with only being me but with being ‘another me.’ When a student studies English, they also discover that magic and that transformation (which means to change).
In my Pre-Advanced class at ILAC, in room 315 of the Main Building at 920 Yonge Street, we explore this interesting aspect. For example, on Monday we discussed personality. We learned a number of new adjectives and idioms that describe one’s personality and spoke about the difference between EXTROVERTED people and INTROVERTED people. In fact, I gave my students a personality test to measure how Extroverted (open, social, communicative) they were versus how Introverted (shy, quiet, reticent) they were. What surprised the students was when they took the test answering questions for both their life in their country and for their life in Toronto. They quickly discovered that learning and using English had a big change on them. For some students, they became much more Introverted using English (they’re concern for mistakes and feeling limited with expressions) and some students became much more Extroverted when using English and living in Toronto. As my student Danny from Korean said, “Here in Toronto I can be both free of expectations but also I can be a new me in this language.”
What I also did with the class was assign them to become a new student. In other words, they became one of their classmates. They had to speak as if they were the other student and to even imagine a life and some activities that they had done. I also made them write letters as if they were the other student. Each time I do activities such as this (identity exchange) the students are not only excited and become very creative but they seem to get a lot of pleasure out of being someone ‘new.’ But most importantly, the students ‘stop thinking’ about their English. As if this new cloak of an identity freed them from worrying about their mistakes and their grammar and pronunciation. I often explain to the students that this is the point. That they should remember that when they’re studying and Living in Toronto. That besides learning another language and skill, they are also developing and expanding themselves. A new and different YOU!
So, if you ever wish to find that OTHER you, don’t hesitate and don’t be shy. Try English on as if a new coat and stop by and see me and meet my students. You’ll be happy to know that there is always more than one you.
And maybe that other you can help you with your English study as well!
See you soon!