I constantly insist with my students that learning a language shouldn’t be their goal – their raison d’être. They study English or French or Spanish because they hope to use it when traveling, or for professional and personal development, for instance.
Today I’ve been reminded of Alice – a great, hardworking student in her professional life but who refuses to review or practice anything taught in class.
Alice loves to talk and her professional vocabulary is quite good since she is involved in billing international clients and can write quite well, having a good grammar domain. But she’s got a limited vocabulary when outside her professional jargon.
Her favorite question is: “How can I say ___X____ in English?”
One day, in a 20 minute interval, she asked the following list in Portuguese:
“Teacher…, How can I say…
7. sangue frio
9. não pisque!
13. estar acordado
14. fábrica de dinheiro
17. tenho o costume
18. sou banana
Knowing that so many words would be gone with the wind as soon as she had walked out of the room, I decided to play a game with her. Instead of being her
human super dictionary faster than google translator, I wrote down the list on a sheet of paper and gave it to her. I told her: “Remember that words must be used in context, so look up the translations of the words but check the meaning in English to see if they fit the context you want to place them in. By looking them up and writing them down you’ll be able to remember them in the future.”
She agreed and left – this was in March – now June 2015 (at least we’re in the same year) she hasn’t done the so-called “homework”. I’ve challenged her a few times but she says she doesn’t like to be pressured. She is hard pressed enough doing her job.
So, for our next class we are going to sit down (or stand up – if based on the latest studies on how standing up is better to your health) and go over the list and see how much she remembers and can use in context.
Going over my lesson plans in 2014 I came across some notes on the book of James. The author emphasized how God has been patient with us for thousands of years. And sometimes we can go through hardships that are like those the people of Israel had when they journeyed in the wilderness.
In Deuteronomy 8:15 we read: “He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.”
Why does God put us in the wilderness? So that we can see what’s in our hearts.
The author of the book of James starts saying that “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). Does he really mean that? Is he making a mistake? Has he been drinking? What drug is he on?
It takes supernatural revelation in the midst of trials to reveal our needs.
In the book of James we are admonished (I like this word), to consider trials pure joy. Why? Is it because we must suffer in order to pay for our sins or for our ancestors sins? Is it to appease angry gods?
Hardships will help us develop spiritual stamina. In Luke 2:52 we read: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” – growing up Jesus most certainly didn’t have it easy but he grew physically, mentally and spiritually.
God wants us to stop going round the same mountain.
We were never promised to always have smooth, sunny days. Storms will come. Let us learn to grow with and despite our trials.
The adventure of learning never ends – the joy of discovering new things daily keeps us motivated and with sharper minds. That’s one thing I really like about sabbath school, members who join are encouraged to study their quarterly and the bible every single day of the year. No breaks. The aim is information and transformation. Sharpening your head while softening your heart.
Every quarter we study at sabbath a new theme from the bible – my favorite theme is when we tackle a whole book: last quarter we studied the letter of James to the 12 tribes abroad and this quarter we’re studying the book of proverbs of Solomon, which interestingly enough were not all written by that famous King with his mines and wives.
Some students for different reasons, financial, or else, don’t get their quarterlies, so by God’s grace and as long as I can, I’ll keep on buying some 10-15 additional booklets to give the students. These are some of the students who at least this quarter promised to study the lesson every day. If they do it, they’ll grow and not even notice it.