Being defensive when corrected 

4 January, 2018

One of the unfortunate attitudes (in my opinion) to take in language learning is to be overly defensive when being corrected or when being subjected to correction or critique. I say critique, not criticism. But then again, there’s no value in being prickly and defensive even in the face of harsh and perhaps unwarranted criticism, although that might be a knee-jerk reaction.

I like being corrected. (That’s of course on the pretext that said person knows what he/she is saying) To me, the person is trying to help. More often than not, it’s the easiest to ignore. For someone to spend the effort correcting you, it shows that they are keen to help.

This is why I don’t understand people who will go all the way to prove and emphasise that “it’s a typo”, “I knew this but I just forgot!”, “I can understand all these difficult stuff, so it’s not like my (insert language name) is not good”, “I haven’t study in a long while, it’s normal that my writing/speaking etc isn’t perfect”. mmm hmm. I think it’s simple to just accept the correction graciously and to take it as a valuable lesson learnt. Nobody is judging your mistake, so there’s no need to insist on how decent you actually are or to come up with different reasons to “justify” that mistake. >< Everyone goes through that long process of getting from nothing, to something, and then to something better (lol). Instead of giving 342098 excuses and justifications for your current standard or that you managed to reach x standard despite 24920284 things that are not in your favour, just focus on the process. Accept that you will just be x standard if you are unable to commit time / effort to it, or put in the time/effort if you wanna go beyond.

As I’m pointing this out, it’s also not meant to criticise, but also a reminder to myself as I may have fallen into the same trap myself at times. Especially at the spur of the moment reactions, when I’m embarrassed or flustered. Sometimes I also like to think that I’m not too bad, given that I self-studied (compared to those who have the opportunity to study long-term in Korea, majored in the language or what not). But ultimately, I know that it is not the best excuse and I’m just not better because I didn’t put in more time and effort. Simple as that.

Sometimes I also wonder if I have too strong opinions when it comes to language learning hahaha. I am usually quite mild about everything else and pretty much adopt a “I don’t really quite care” attitude. So I apologise in advance if I am the one who is too sensitive!

Thought this was quite an interesting issue to ponder on. Any thoughts? 🙂 

    1. I don’t get get those people either. They should use that energy towards actually spending time with the language. Honestly if you learn a language you are going to suck for a long time and we all have to go through that to get good.

      The other thing that bothers me is people working hard and putting in a lot of time and effort into ineffective methods. Even if you work hard and put in a lot of time, if your method is bad you’re not gonna get good results. Some People tend to be hardheaded or just need to get the ineffective method out of their system by spending a lot of time doing it to get to a point where they’re finally open minded enough to consider the possibility there might be better ways to learn a language and look into learning about language learning and language learning methods

      1. Honestly if you learn a language you are going to suck for a long time and we all have to go through that to get good. —-> yes I agree!

        For languages, I think we learn via mistakes for the large part. So it’s perfectly fine to keep failing and then learning through those mistakes. Someone once told me that it’s also important to laugh at yourself when you are being laughed at, and all those embarrassing moments in language learning often turned out to be good learning experiences. I thought that was quite true. Although not easy to achieve at times, depending on individual’s personality.

        On ineffective methods, I learnt that it’s a lot more debatable and subject to individual learning preferences. For one, I cannot learn via dramas/variety shows as a main resource but I do know of people who learn through that. I thought it was amazing that they could pick out the grammar points (especially) from the dialogue and infer its meaning based on context >< I could only learn from dramas etc when I was at the intermediate level and even then, it was more of the vocab. I also realised that I learn better by reading rather than listening (if we are talking about the passive parts of language learning). I guess we can’t force our own methods on others, but all we can do is to share and it could be a point of reference. (: Thanks for sharing!

        1. I meant straight up bad methods like trying to memorize words without context, doing textbook exercises,trying to memorize conjugation tables, etc

    1. I went through a similar phase a few years back. However, instead of getting defensive, I used to get demotivated whenever I get corrections from someone. I used to see it as, “oh, I’ve wasted my time doing all that studying, making such careless mistakes.” But now, I take note of the corrections I get. All the different versions I get of the same sentence. I note down each and every one in my notebook. I see it as learning the many ways of saying the same thing.

      I use an app called HelloTalk a lot for language learning. (Similar to Lang-8 but more towards a social media-like concept) From what I have noticed, every time I make a mistake I get three different kinds of corrections:
      1. Textbook corrections – The kind to simply correct your grammatical errors.
      2. Conversational corrections – The kind to correct your grammatical errors as well as give you a more natural way of saying the same sentence.
      3. Variational corrections – The kind to correct your grammatical errors, give you a more natural way of saying the same sentence, as well as give you a variety of sentences to convey the same meaning (usually a more colloquial make-you-sound-more-native kind of sentence).

      This is one of the few reasons why I’ve come to love getting corrections now. Many may not realize it but whenever they make mistakes, they are really learning much much more~

    1. Taking critisism and corrections is one of the best way to learn a language, especially if it comes from a native speaker or someone who has been intetgrating themselves with the language for longer than you have. If you don’t do that then your progress in the language will be slow. Not to mention also you’ll probably just be wasting your time.

      Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me changing the topic, I wanted to ask if you still think twochois is a great website to order from. I’ve tried to check prices ,on Amazon, of the books you’ve been recommending and they are ridiculously expensive. Is twochois still are great website or should I try other ones like Seoul Selection?
      Btw I’m all the way in Kenya, I’m pretty sure the shipping costs alone will end up giving me a heart attack. 😂😂

      1. Hello! On which websites are good, I really think it depends on your distance away, how fast you want your books etc. All I can say is that twochois really pack their books well, so you won’t get v crumpled edges etc. They would give freebies (like notebooks etc) too, based on my past experiences with them

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