DIAMONDS and PENCIL LEAD are made of the same THING just NETWORKED differently – Can this idea help us learn ENGLISH better?


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I just wanted to raise an interesting issue concerning social networking (the key to all things for now and the future). The point I’m making with the title is that this was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. I discovered that these two things are actually made of the same materials they are just molecularly joined together (or socially networked) in a very different way.  So what I realised is that when we socially network ourselves in a completely different way, we can create something very different.

I thought about this in terms of learning English. I realised that when a student comes into the class, no matter what country they come from, they do bring with them all their socialised skills learned from that country or culture. So when they are confronted with English or learning a new language, there is often a block, or shock to the system. I would say it’s sometimes like changing a piece of pencil lead into a diamond. It will still be the same compound, but it just needs to be socially networked differently.

So then poses the problem of how does an ESL teacher get their student to develop new social networks. In the class there may be people from all the same network, that can be a problem, or it can be a variety of networks, none of which are English. So what then?

I have some suggestions to help the student in and outside the classroom:

!.             Try to immerse yourself in western food, western movies and western music. This will definitely help understand some kind of fluency in the ‘English speaking world’.

  1. Try to meet native speakers by joining clubs that have people of similar interests but different cultures.
  2. Listen to the radio, television or any other medium in English, and just let the music of the language get absorbed into you.

These are common suggestions, but the difference is that you are trying to understand on an unconscious level the way English speaking people ‘socially network’.  English is about communication after all, and how we socially network is all about communication too. This certainly helps you get confidence and build traction in the arenas of speaking English when they come up.


Diamonds and Pencil Lead


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