October 18, 2017

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Perception of Difficulty

October 18, 2017

For a small child, walking for the first time is intrinsically a very, very difficult skill to learn. Despite that inherent difficulty, almost all children learn to walk very quickly. The same goes for language, to begin to process all the connections of language for the first time as a toddler is one of the great miracles of human life - and yet, everyone learns to speak.

Children look around, and see that everyone else is walking and talking, so it must be easy.

As we grow older, the number of things that we can see everyone doing gets lower. Then after we reach about 20, anytime we see a new skill that we don't have any background in, we immediately don't want to try, in case we make a mistake.

Actually many of the things we don't want to try, like a foreign language, or juggling, or a new sport, a new method of analysis, are not inherently difficult. But we perceive them as difficult.

As children we perceived hard things as easy, and as we get older we perceive easy skills as hard, and don't learn them. So the key is to perceive the task for what it is, or even perceive it as simple. 

Language learning is often made out to be much harder than it is, all we have to do is change our perception. Don't think of English as hard, look around, everyone can do it, so you can to.

 

 

 

 

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