It seems that in life we often have to choose between quantity and quality. As a child my mind focused on quantity – I wanted more toys, more candy, more everything. Why have just one great toy when I could have lots of good ones? In school it was the same way – teachers always push us to learn more, even when we haven’t mastered the basics. In the beginning it didn’t feel as if there was a big difference between the students around me but as we progressed through elementary school into junior high and finally into high school it was easier to see who “got it” and who didn’t.
Spanish was always tough for me. I was pushed through the levels in order to take an entrance level test which I honestly wasn’t ready for. I remember thinking, I wish I could just go over my second year stuff once more rather than moving into the third year class. While I had done enough to get into the third year (barely) I knew I wasn’t ready for what awaited me there.
The secret to learning English is not to race through everything but take one step at a time. Focus on mastering simple sentences first. Then add in new vocabulary. Then improve your structure and then add more vocabulary. It’s a simple formula really. Don’t expect to know everything tomorrow, these things take time. QUALITY, not quantity is what I try to teach at my classroom. People think that by speaking a lot they are improving but at times speaking can get us into trouble and show our weaknesses to others. There is a time to talk and a time to listen. Mastering both isimportant. Once again, it’s not how much you say, but how you say the things you say.
One of my students read 4 of my entries here on Soapbox and I was absolutely thrilled to hear it but when I asked him to explain one in his own words he couldn’t. That’s the trouble with quantity, too much information makes it tough to sort out.
QUALITY, not quantity, should always be the goal.