Language Challenge 180: Week 19

by Corey · 1 comment

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Welcome to Week 19 !

If you missed the activities these last few weeks, go to the Weekly Activity Page and click on the activities you missed. (Remember: if you aren’t yet signed up, then do so at the link at the top of this page!)

Make sure to check in last week and to enter our current Language Challenge 180 giveaway for a fantastic book! Please keep sharing resources, support and suggestions at the Language Challenge 180 language pages! The more information you can add there, the better!

The Big Question: Why?

I’m thinking that this morning you most likely ate breakfast. You probably chatted with your family while you ate. Maybe you had a cup of coffee or tea with your breakfast, brushed your teeth, put on clean underwear and clothes.

Maybe you headed to an office or got your kids off to school and then did grocery shopping. If you had a few moments, you may have read a good book on the porch with a cup of tea and then called the dentist to set up some cleaning appointments for your kids.


Why did you do all of those things? Why did you choose to eat what you ate for breakfast? Why did you chat with your family at the breakfast table? What was the point of brushing your teeth and why did you put on those specific underwear and articles of clothing this morning? What is the point of going to the office and what made you decide to read that book today?

Each of our answers will most likely be different: “I pulled out the underwear that happened to be at the top of the drawer,” or “I wanted to wear something extra special today so I chose that pair of underwear.” “I don’t like coffee, so I always drink tea with breakfast,” or “I can’t imagine having breakfast without a cup of coffee!” “I go to work because I have to pay the bills,” or “I love my job at the office and can’t imagine life without it!”


Each of our choices has an element of intention behind it – even the ones that seem to have been done haphazardly (those are the ones we have chosen not to care about either way). Each have obvious and not-so-obvious goals and desired outcomes.

We have preferences (built up over time) and we feel positive, negative and neutral associations with certain activities. Some have even become habits: We’d feel strange not doing them!

When it comes to language learning, we should pay a lot of attention to our intentions. Why are we learning the language that we are learning? Why are we making the effort to pass on our native language to our children?

Answering the WHY Question

If we can answer the why question (in as much detail as possible) with respect to language learning for ourselves and/or our children, we will have given ourselves some much needed insight. It is only through understanding why we do something that we can embrace and appreciate it fully.

This will help us realize why we enjoy some language-learning activities more than others and why we some things make us feel more successful in our language learning adventure than others.

For example: If we are hoping that our children will be better able to talk with family abroad, then our sense of accomplishment will be based on how well our children’s conversational skills are developing (over, say, academic skills). If we are preparing our children to attend school in another country, then conversational skills may be less of a concern than reading, writing and math skills in the target language.

We don’t have to sit down and focus with concentrated effort on why we are learning a language and/or passing one on to our children. We just need to notice when we are feeling joy in our/our children’s language learning journey. Notice when we are feeling that goals are being met and hopes are coming to fruition. Those will be the moments when you will best understand why you are doing what you are doing.

Don’t ignore those feelings! Write them down instead!

This Week’s Activity:

  • Individuals and/or Parents: Write down as many reasons as you can for why you are learning a language and/or helping your children learn a/your language. Just have a piece of paper (or your computer/smartphone) handy to write down thoughts when they come to you. Take note of the things that bring you the greatest joy in your/your children’s language learning journey. These will be clues as to why you are motivated.

May you have a wonderful week of language focus!

Stay tuned for the Friday check-in email and new giveaway!

1 Tracey July 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm

We live in 2 countries and 2 cultures as a family and we need to mix and communicate and learn in both equally as comfortably.

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