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Who would pay to be whipped

April 11, 2014

The title sounded kinda strange (masochistic?).  A more suitable title should be “money paid to do the things you don’t like”.  But it is almost true that most people who lack the discipline to study need it and need it badly; they literally pay to get tutors to whip them into shape.  Except the whipping is not physically.  But without tutors and good schools that “drill” the students, most student, left on their own, will not do the necessary work to be better (you name it– algebra, piano, memorize the periodic table, multiplication table, anatomy, Shakespeare etc).

When I say “most students” which are the ones I am referring to?  They are usually those that long for a good celebration during and after the course (and crave for the course to end).  Those who do not think a celebration, have done all that is needed tof the learning usually do not need the “whippers”, or “drill sergeants”, (or whatever you want to call the tutors, educators).

Well, left on their own, they won’t do it.  So, they pay to get into shape.  They are in need of a good reason to practice, drill, recite, etc. So someone came up with this idea on the website for learning languages.  Language learning website, as we know today, are a dime a dozen.  It is a “zillion dollar industry”. Most claimed they are the best.  There is one particular one that does not have claims like:

“let you learn in less than the time …”, or

“only 5 minutes a day…”

or any of those advertising technique that often promised more than what they can deliver. This website took more than three years in the making.  The first ten or twenty pages are just motivational talks, similar to a TEDtalk and explaining why you should be “motivated”, and why “you should keep it to yourself” — a basic psychology suitable in all learning.   Then it explained (again very basic and common sense) why learning hiragana is boring but important (like why we should learn to tune the ukulele before learning to play it).  And doing a few hours a day (till it’s as natural as brushing your teeth) is better than not doing for a month and then with regrets or guilt do it for 8 to 16 hours straight in one day.  (Or burn midnight oil just to cope with the coming exam/test)  It’s for adults who do not have the advantage of “immersion” programs that put you amongst Japanese.  For those who are busy with their work and yet are willing to take out hours a day and keep motivating themselves for months if not years (or forever if possible). is not for the lazy and uncommitted.  It is not cheap either.  But telling the truth helps because learning a language is not confined to just between the walls of a classroom, but an ongoing and never-ending endeavor you must devote most if not all your time in.  Nobody can help you but you yourself when it comes to “knowledge”.  It cannot be given to you like a piece of bread or a piece of toys.  Only you can obtain it by yourself by going through the hard road.  There is really no shortcuts to learning, taking shortcuts will only result in, later on, not understanding deeper concepts because of gaps in your basic understanding.

During the pre-internet days, we easily tell ourselves that we pay to learn because that someone (called a teacher) can teach us the “knowledge”.  But today, we know any part of the knowledge (be in learning the polite “NARU” form  or conjugating from the -masu form to -te form or -ta form) is easily free online by searching for it.  So the teacher (and I have taught for many years in colleges in the US) is more a motivator and finding and giving you reasons to learn than leave you or push you into an atmosphere to “learn it by yourself”.

Once you found the motivation.  Once you got the drive to learn.  Even without a school, or textbooks, or even teachers (in today’s world), you will get it, albeit, you might progress slower.  Once you put in that ounce of diligent, dedicated, consistent mind to work, eventually you’ve get what you want.  And amazingly, the more you learn, the more you’ll want to learn, and the process is very fulfilling.


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