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Actions Speak Louder Than Words
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“Actions Speak Louder Than Words” – do they? Try OPAL!
OPAL – what is it besides being a miracle working magic to achieve genuine fluency, become a “different person”, acquire a second language and even a second FIRST language?
For me, its the psychology behind acquiring real ease, fluency, comfort and being at home in another language – not just stepping into their shoes and becoming a native, but feeling so at ease that its like putting your slippers on. I was trained by the great man himself, and really did have the experience of seeing him with several different pairs of slippers, each of which he slipped on with equal ease and comfort! Yves, the genius that created and developed OPAL is French by birth and upbringing, (latterly via Latin America and the States), has been in the language training business for over 15 years, Specialist in English and Linguistics, he has been working on modeling language training acquisition for over 10 years. He is the author and developer of “The Opal Method” and has an upcoming book about the Opal method and the structure of bilingualism which will be out shortly.
With OPAL you develop the way you think and feel about another language and culture. Acquiring a language and achieving genuine fluency isn’t just about grammar and vocabulary. Note that I avoid saying “learn”. Mentally, learning tends to be associated with hard work, structured lessons, exercises and not a lot of creativity or emotion, unless you count frustration and boredom! Thinking back to my schooldays, and even more recent language learning, I never found it terribly inspiring… it was more of a “groan” reaction as the teacher would go through umpteen rules, examples, exercises etc none of which were that exciting or motivating. We never really got to see, feel or experience the heart and soul of that language we were so avidly (or not) trying to learn. Sorry – I digress…
When we do something to the best of our ability, when we feel at our best about what we are doing, what is involved? Everything! By that I mean everything that is around us and inside us: where we live, work and play – our physical, social and emotional environment; what we do and how we behave; what we are capable of doing, our skills and how we use them; our beliefs and values, our expectations about the situation and what is important to us in it; who we are and what role we play in this context, our identity relative to those around us; and our higher purpose, why we are who we are, what fulfils us.
Sounds heavy doesn’t it? Its not, really… think of something that you do, or have done, that you really passionately enjoyed, that made you feel good about yourself, and good about what you were doing. The likelihood is that what you were doing was “in sync” and positive with all the above.
Why should acquiring another language be any different? If you feel good and fulfilled about the what, where, when, why, who and how, you are already psychologically prepared to be relaxed, confident, capable, positive and motivated – a strong combination for successfully achieving anything!
OPAL is the methodology that shows you how to put your own cultural habits and beliefs to one side, how to open yourself up to true understanding of the culture and mentality of the language you wish to acquire, not just on a psychological level, but also physically, emotionally and socially. You use all your senses, you think about sounds, your vocal cords, resonance… you model the sounds, reactions, movements of a native speaker. You literally do step into their shoes and become a native!
OPAL is a fascinating exploration and discovery that enriches your experience of another culture while vastly enhancing your ability and acquisition of another language to achieve genuine fluency. Not only is it effective but fun, interesting and fulfilling – altogether a magical creation!
In the next issue I will be talking more about “Language Learning Beliefs, Modelling and Motivation”
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