All the time in the world…..


How many times have we used the phrase just give it time?
Often when I am training we talk about the silent period of learning where children need time to hear the language and process it. As many of us know forcing a child to speak a foreign language before they are ready can be really detrimental to their confidence and willingness to engage with the learning.
A common question in training is ” what do we do if the weans just opt out and won’t speak?”
Nine times out of ten the weans will opt back in, albeit on various degrees, and I have seen that first hand.
Frustrating as it might be, and perhaps because the weans don’t learn the way WE want them to, it can be easy to mistake nerves for disinterest.
Nothing used to strike terror into my heart more than PE at school and that performing element in front of people. My confidence was never nurtured and I even remember reading in the register beside my name ” big, long hair” aye, thanks Mr.Riley.
Yet, put me in a room of people and I’ll happily play organ or piano.
Part of being a teacher is getting the weans to believe they can do it, and for me it is about helping them to communicate in a foreign language . It’s not about learning stock answers to a list of questions.
A bit like music, it’s not just about learning set pieces. You need to learn how to feel them, how to interpret them and how to use dynamics to get the best from them.
People often assume that musicians have been playing since they were in the womb and when I say didn’t start lessons officially till I was 12, people seem shocked. I played, tinkered and listened all my life but I was never pressured by my folks. When I showed a real interest and asked for lessons my parents encouraged and nurtured that.
I had the same conversation about little people and musical instruments a few days ago and we talked of how we can be desperate to show them how to hold instruments, play, and make music, when really what we need to do is let them be physically capable, explore the sounds, create noise and find that inner joy. I am happily watching the wee lady tinkering away now and again on the piano. She associates it with being happy and lots of laughing.
Somethings cannot be rushed, but we can create the climate for them to flourish.


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