How are you all? My name is Anthony. Learning a foreign language in your own country can sometimes prove to be a hard task. Thinking back to my birth and being raised up in Vancouver, asides from Cantonese and English being spoken, there were really no people who spoke Mandarin. My mother, on the other hand, really wanted me to learn Mandarin, so my sister and I were sent off to Chinese school. However, Chinese school was only offered once a week for only two hours each time. So, how did I learn my Chinese?
First, I had to make a decision – Will this language be useful in the future? At that time, my mother told me, “Son, Mandarin will be a major language in the future and you definitely will be able to use it.” Through my mother’s explanations, I realized that learning this language was beneficial to me; and I really wanted to learn.
Second, I needed to take advantage of any chance I had to speak, learn, and practice more whenever I could. I had a group of friends from Taiwan and China, and it was they who would laugh and make fun of me whenever I spoke Mandarin. I conjured up as much courage, spoke, learned and practiced as much as I could with them, all the while trying my best to ignore their negative comments and laughs. Now, I know you probably don’t have such an environment here, but you can make your classroom one. Learn with an open mind, speak as if there was no language barrier, and ask as many questions as you want. Do not worry, and do not fear.
I, honestly, believe that the barriers and difficulties I face in Canada learning Mandarin is the same as your worries about learning English in Taiwan. Dear students do not fear. As long as you're willing to learn, willing to put in the time to practice and study, willing to listen to your teachers’ advice, and willing to persevere there’s really no dream too big that you cannot accomplish.
The question is: Do you believe in yourself?
As a teacher, I believe in you; each and every one of you.
Wishing you all happy learning, and may you all continue to take steps in actualizing your dreams!