The Hockey Approach to Learning Languages Part 1

Dans: Apprendre l'anglais
Note moyenne de 5 sur 5 Total 1 votes.

One key to learning a language (and many other things) is to use the proper tool (or approach) at the proper time. When people have a lot of work to accomplish, they work very hard on one project, and when it appears that enough has been done, they drop it and go to the next project. 

So often, when a Gaspésien feels it’s time to move onto another project, you will hear such remarks as “C’est correct, c’est correct – on passe à d’autres choses”. It is no surprise that one approach favoured by many valiant, hard-working Québécois is what I term the “hockey approach”. Interestingly enough, there are some expressions from that sport which have seeped into Québec culture (such as the admonition “Niaise pas avec le puck”). One hockey champion, Wayne Gretzky, claimed that the difference between him and ordinary hockey players was that those players go where the puck is; Wayne goes where the puck will be. The emphasis is on forgetting what you just did (or what the case was) and concentrating on what you will do (or what the case will be).

Of course, there are many realities in life in which this approach will serve us – especially when we have so much to accomplish within a short time frame… There are, however, vitally important characteristics of language learning which are unequal and dissimilar to hockey, and prominent features of the hockey approach WILL NOT serve us well when we are trying to learn a new language. Part 2 of this series deals with these things.

  1. Define the word “prominent”.
  2. Define the word “seep”.
  3. Think of how the hockey approach might be inappropriate for learning languages