This might sounds like an odd question but have you ever wondered, who is the expert on Finnish?
I don’t actually mean a person employed as a Finnish expert but rather, in the context of your life, who do you consider to be the expert on the Finnish?
And when it comes to learning Finnish, is it an expert you should be turning to?
I ask all this because I remember sitting in my Finnish classes, waiting for excellent advice that rarely came. I usually had kind and patient teachers, and yet they seemed to know quite little about the challenges foreigners faced when being confronted with their own mother tongue. They advised me to read the newspaper to expand my vocabulary, but I couldn’t think of a task that sounded more unappealing at the time. Don’t get me wrong, reading the newspaper is a great way to learn vocabulary, if you actually enjoy reading the newspaper. But if not, what do you do?
On a grey November afternoon a few years back, I had an insight while looking out the window in Finnish class. I realized that the mistake many of us were making, myself included, was giving away our positions as experts. Our positions as experts on how to learn Finnish.
We do this when we turn to others to tell us exactly how we should do it, because we keep hoping for the magic method that will make all our problems go away.
We do this when we believe people who tell us that learning Finnish is very hard (this is their perception, not ours.)
We do this because we lack the confidence to believe that we have all the answers we are looking for.
We do this because quite often, we are led to believe that making mistakes is bad, and that the goal is not to make any mistakes at all. But if I hadn’t made these same mistakes myself, I would’ve never learned this lesson:
I am my own expert when it comes to learning Finnish, and pretty much anything else. And so are you. By giving other people the expert title, we give away our confidence in ourselves and our power to learn.
And with this, I leave you with a final question?
If you were the expert on your learning friend what would you do differently?
The ‘you as your own expert’ theme is one of the many aspects of the course which make it non-traditional. So instead of being told what to do, you are shown what you need, and guided through figuring out how this works best for you. You can find more info by clicking the picture below: