I would start by clarifying that I am not a believer and on the other hand I am not any unbeliever in God. I think that both are the same, but from other side – one believe in existence of God and the others believe in non-existence of God. But is not the topic of my post - So, what Jesus wanted to say to us? And how it is connected with our inability to learn effectively foreign languages?
From my perspective, Jesus sees children as innocent beings, still free of stuff we (adults) put on them, free of conditioning, prejudices and judgments … They are spontaneous beings, they have a courage and vitality (maybe because they do not carry all of that mentioned stuff with them). They overflow with activity, they are able to play and experiment, they are willing to make mistakes and learn from them without any gilt or shame, they are very flexible ... to name just a few. Such attributes are unfortunately lacking in us as adults (partially or completely) and it strongly influences our learning processes (language learning included) and needless to say that the influence is negative.
First of all, we are conditioned to speak with some language already (our mother language) and it is not easy to get rid of it (to give it away form our head) while using the other language we are learning.
Second, we are afraid to make mistakes and teachers support us in such approach. If you make a lot of mistakes, you are considered to be a bad student and you are “punished” by bad grades, of course… In such situation could be better not to be very initiative. The children, on the contrary, are eager to do things, to speak, they make mistakes, fall down while learning to walk, but they jump on their feet again and are able to learn very quickly this way :-)
Spontaneity was lost – we think to much before using our language - even our native language - but in case of the foreign languages it is even worse – we have grammar rules* on top of it! In his post on my blog, Jarne from Finland said that we should had special language kinder-gardens for adults (similar to those for children, where they learn foreign languages very early, before school) Would it be helpful? Would not it be kind of business meeting there anyway? Long faces and uneasy silence most of the time.
We somehow lost a fantasy, we tend to do things repeatedly over and over again, once learned. We fight against new approaches, ideas. And we struggle, because, everything is changing anyway. The lack of openness, tolerance and acceptance keeps us stuck on spot. No progress means no joy and it leads to quiting such an activity very quickly – in our case the language learning activity.
To say just a few.
So, was Jesus right? Did Jesus know the truth? I think so. He also used to say: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”
Let's break free! :-)
*We think that children do not learn the grammar rules because they are too small to understand them – and we are not. We think that we, as adults, should learn simple sentences like children first. Isn't it perplexed a bit? We are adults, we do not need to learn such simple sentences, and at the same time we do not need to learn those complex grammar rules as children do not learn them explicitly. Yes, we can, but later - children learn them later too. (Excuse me for this, if you are a „Grammar Lover“ - you can do it
now ;-) Everybody is unique)