As a parent I get the pleasure of watching my children as they grow up step by step: rolling over for the first time, crawling, taking their first steps. Learning to walk is one of the most wonderful milestones in a little person’s life, but it doesn’t happen all at once. Babies need to first stand with assistance, whether it be holding onto the sofa or holding their parents’ hands, some support is needed. With time and practice, the baby will take his first unassisted step, then several unassisted steps, then more until finally they can walk solo, albeit with lots of wobbles and falls. These wobbles and falls are sometimes cute, sometimes painful, but always necessary in the process of becoming a solid walker.
Learning a new language is no different. At the beginning, full support is required. Next we need practice with support before finally trying to fly solo a little bit. Mistakes are made, but these can be fixed with a supportive coach helping us to see them. Eventually, with support and hard work, we can go for a walk or a talk or an adventure all by ourselves, knowing that we can do it, albeit not perfectly at first. The key is to have the right kind of support and always take baby steps.
Edward, Smith’s School of English Otsu