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QW 040612 “Catch to Eat”

I don’t fish. It’s almost unlikely that I become fond of fishing as recreation, so I’ll never appreciate the true beauty of fishing, just like you’ll never know the fun I’d find in sitting in front of my laptop and doing this and that whenever I have time. Both are unproductive activities in a sense that they produce nothing tangible, but they do produce certain joy and pleasure for whoever enjoys the activities.

I’m not the best person to comment on fishing, but I can’t help wonder what the joy and pleasure of catching and releasing fish that you’ll never going to eat really is. People who like “black bass fishing” might enjoy the process of catching what they’re after as a target, or improving and polishing the skills and techniques to capture a more elusive and formidable catch next time. With all due respect for those black bass fishers, I don’t or can’t appreciate the beauty of this catch-and-release thing. If I were to fish, I’d try catching the fish I’d eat or I’d need for others to share. I can’t simply enjoy the process of testing my skills, seeing the result, improving my techniques and methods, and going after bigger targets. It’s not a matter of which is good or bad. It’s just a matter of preferences or perspectives.

As a language learner, I’d like to be the one to use the language in better ways. To use the language means to me is to read what’s written in the language to understand the content, to listen to what speakers of the language have to say, to speak what I’d like to express without diluting or twisting my thoughts and intentions, and to write what I’d like to convey to in an understandable way. For those purposes, I’ll be willing to polish my skills. To be a better user of the language I’ll be learning from anything.

The accomplished TOEIC teacher in Korea told me as his response to my question that most of, say 98-99%, the English learners who’ve achieved more than 900 on the TOEIC L/R tests would just quit taking the test and shift to improving their speaking and writing skills. He went so far as to say that to keep taking the tests after you’ve achieved as high scores as 900 is simply a waste of time and money. One of the reasons behind this seems to me that English learners in Korea are in dare need of improving their “overall” English skills in order to become competitive in the severe job market. Whatever the motive, it looks like a healthy move for English learners to start polishing their speaking and writing skills after they’ve learned the basics of listening and reading. I wish this trend will prevail in Japan.

If you’re a black bass catch-and-release fisher who enjoys seeing how useful your skills and techniques are to catch a big black bass, that’s perfectly okay. Good luck. But if you’re a language learner who enjoys seeing how useful your skills and techniques are to obtain higher scores on English proficiency tests with multiple choice questions, and have no intension to “use” whatever language skills you may have, it’ll be a huge loss of your valuable assets.


(60 minutes / 571 words)

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Aya

Author:Aya
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