Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 8 maggio 2015
Sharing. A very common word in the social media days. Sharing is something that can be done even without using Facebook too much. How? By having a shared passion, such as the passion for languages - including their learning and teaching. No matter whether it’s one language or more than ten, what is important is to feel passion in what you do, and then share it with others.
While writing what I have just written, the words of Christopher McCandless came to my mind. I heard them in the great movie “INTO THE WILD”:
“Happiness only real when shared”
What I have experienced just a few days ago is happiness becoming real, and I can sum up this experience in one word. And that word is …
To learn, to teach, to fully experience one or more foreign languages as naturally as possible.
But what am I talking about?
Do you know Berlin, the capital of Germany? A city that can impress you with its architectural wonders, its history, and its people. Whether you can imagine it or not, you should know that a few days ago Berlin was the place where a special meeting took place: for four days, about 350 among “polyglots”, language lovers, and enlightened entrepreneurs joyfully shared their ideas , their activities, and their life stories.
The ones that you will be able to see below are just some of the special people who got together at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin in the first four days of May 2015 … In Lindsay Dow’s video below, you can get to see the first day’s highlights.
Although I will not mention all of them, you should know that all the people - from the organizers to the last of the participants - even those with whom I spoke very little - have a special place in my heart.
Among them there was Kyeonghun Son, who came all the way from Korea. Along with other people, whose name I can’t unfortunately remember of, he sat down to chat with me (in English) at dinner and taught me how to present myself in Korean (and I let him learn how to do it in Italian)… I will always remember with pleasure the good and brisk walk around Berlin that we had after lunch one day, and the great feedback he gave me for my lecture… Oh yes, because I was in Berlin also to present something I care a lot about and you can read about later in this post.
There was Irina Pravet who shared with us her story and her insights about her transition from Canada to Finland. She told us how her way of being (sociable and spontaneous) had changed when she began to live in Finland and speak Finnish. She shared with us how she went through a period of great distress, and the steps she went through to recover and find herself again. This is my mind map of her lecture - really exciting and touching at the same time!
Among other things, Irina brought me and Claudio to visit a beautiful and “secret” garden near the hotel where the conference was taking place.
Who is Claudio?
Claudio Sartori is a nice and charismatic Italian guy, currently living in Lithuania, who has come up with a special idea to overcome one of the biggest hurdles in language learning: that is finding relevant, fun, and at-the-right-level (+1) content to read and listen to. He managed to create a key resource for those who want to read, listen, watch a lot of interesting content without experiencing the frustration of not understanding anything at all. How? In this video you can find out how BLIU BLIU works.
Many people were curious to know about the origin of the name - BLIU BLIU… The story is more or less like this. Claudio had tried (like many others) to learn English without success for many years, then, recommended by a friend, he started to watch the episodes of FRIENDS - The famous tv series - again and again… and then, one day, he found out that he could finally speak English, better and better. In one of the episodes, there was Joey needing to speak French although he didn’t have any clue about how to speak that language. Well, Joey began to”speak” in a very self-confident way something that did not not sound French at all (and among other incomprehensible expressions, he said someghing sounding like BLIU BLIU), and then Claudio thought that sometimes being confident can play a key role in the way we are perceived by others and in our language learning path.
By the way, Claudio is looking for more authentic material in any language… so whatever your native language is, if you want to help him, record a little video and send it to him via email to claudio at bliubliu.com (sharing your video - or audio - with him, you will help many others to learn your language).
Among the others, there was also Alberto Arrighini, the nice Italian guy from Italiano Automatico, always very nice and more and more muscular (and surprisingly very tall): he made me laugh a lot (because he says he likes my laughter) and I was also involved in some interesting videos that he will publish on his channel as soon as possible. Here’s a nice picture with Gloria, a joyful lady from Catalonia.
Every person present at the Polyglot Gathering shared a part of themselves, with the aim to let the community grow and be empowered (in the most positive sense of the word). It’s a community of people -normal and special at the same time - who sometimes love to meet in person also to take stock of the situation.
And I? Why was I there? I know I am not a polyglot (have you read the page about me?), But I share with all of these people the passion for languages and cultures. So I decided to go to Berlin to talk about something I really care about and that, along with many other things, I love to use with many of my students: guided imagery for language learning. Visualizations are for me one of the many interesting things (including: reading, listening, speaking, have fun with the language) that can be used to reach - step after step - the goal of speaking a foreign language very well (and enjoy the process too!).
I decided from the very first moment to talk about that topic in English, although I was feeling again a bit rusty with this wonderful language, common to many. It was a challenge for me, a way to get out of my comfort zone. Despite my human imperfections, I am happy for how it went and how people embraced it.
I remember with pleasure Kyeonghun Son‘s feedback: he told me that he felt as if I was sharing my energy with the audience… and I was very happy to hear it, because as I told him, I was feeling in a state of flow while guiding the people in front of me in a pleasant state of relaxation in which they could imagined being able to speak their target language very well! I felt - with all my being - the feelings that the words coming out of my mouth aroused.
I had to laugh a lot instead with Dimity’s comment: he joked about the fact that at that time (9 am) many people who had not slept much the night before (because of the nightlife in Berlin) were happy to go back to sleep and snore during the relaxation, guided by the sound of my voice.
There was a gentleman I can’t remember the name of, who told me he imagined a beautiful and positive scene in which he was sitting with other people in an office in the company he was working in and he felt great for being able to speak Dutch very well.
There was also Leslie who told me how easy it was for her to imagine the suggested situations, feeling wonderfully well at the end.
I thank these people for the feedback they have given me and I will add a couple of things before concluding this long post.
1) I remember that in the Q & A phase of the lecture I was asked if what I had just done was “ALPI” and I replied that I did not know about this field. Thinking again about it, probably I didn’t hear well and the person who asked me the question was thinking about NLP (PNL in Italian). Well, NLP also has a technique called Future Pace where you can ask the client to imagine being in a context that in the past would have triggered a problematic behavior. I think that the technique used during the lecture is more complete and can also be used in the ways that I mentioned toward the end (by the way, you will be able to watch my lecture, as soon as the video recording will be edited).
2) A concept about I could have also talked about during the lecture was state dependent learning. I think that I have already mentioned it in a few posts on this blog and maybe I will talk about it again in the future.
Before concluding I would share a final thought with you who are reading, because …
You can also learn a lot by sharing what you know, discovering, and enriching yourself in the process.
Relax and enjoy the journey!
P.s.2: if you liked this long post, share it as much as you like it!