The harder, the better? I doubt it.

I was reading a passage written by Jeff Immelt when I bumped into this sentence:No job is beneath me.

I presume that the original intention was to let us realize that we should always be humbled by what we don’t know, and this is really important for us the foreign language learners, too.

Many people I know, both learners and teachers, do not seem to like mechanical drills. One example is substitution drills. Learners don’t want to just mechanically make a new sentence by replacing a part of the sentence with something else, nor do teachers. For learners, that is probably because they want to use the target language for a more exciting purpose. For teachers, that is probably because they what to show off more teaching techniques.

I did it, however, as if that were tailor-made for me, when I was a novice learner. Most of the period when I was a novice learner was spent on mechanical drills. I changed from a statement to a question without any other particular purpose. I sometimes wrote it down. I spoke out at some other times. In retrospect, I thought no job was beneath me, because I was at the very bottom.

I will not explicate the outcome that I can enjoy now and that of “creative” learners. Too obvious. Creative learners sound like a good thing. However, “creative” is so strong a term that creative learners can do whatever they want just to have fun. And this fun is a transient pleasure that is to be gone in an instant.

Learners seem to be humbled in public. They say, “Oh, I can’t do that in English.” “Oh, I can’t remember that much.” However, I doubt their superficial humility. They seem to demand for a larger piece of pizza that they cannot even bite and they are proud of it. That does not work. You always need to repeat something that is a bit easier for your level. That can improve your speed, accuracy, and fluency. No job is beneath me.

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