On a popular instant messaging platform, someone recently said:

Discomfort must be your friend if you´re learning a language. Sts aren´t used to this mindset – it takes time. Struggle is normal.

Is it, though? Must students show “grit”, and “struggle” and feel uncomfortable to learn a language?  Well, probably. It has been the way of language instruction for many years now.

Kids get “challenged” and “tested” and “evaluated” and “pushed” All. Day. Long. And even though language doesn’t require this — and acquisition is more efficient when there is no stress, no pressure, no raised affective filter, just focus on the meaning and the communication, with students in a safe environment where they know they will get the language support they need because class is for acquiring and improving, not for modeling the Big Bad World Outside — still we get infected by the idea that if they’re not suffering, we’re not “rigorous”.

I am so grateful that my students acquire instead of learn.