Taking Risks

Sue Lyon-Jones shared this wonderful video on her blog and it really hit me as a great symbol of a language learner who “takes a chance” and just lets the language come out and go through him or her.

Risk-taking is one of the most important features of a good language learner. They accept what they don’t know (ambiguity tolerance) and they focus on what they do know. They don’t wait for perfect pronunciation or form. They communicate, plain and simple. They extract general meaning. And in all this, they like the penguin sit moment after moment on the precipice of babble, incommunicability and yet again and again, like the penguin, they jump over it and succeed.

Teachers – I’m not sure other than a safe environment for your students, through your own building of relationships – how you might promote risk-taking in your students? However, a place to start might just be showing them this video and getting them thinking about it …

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