You may have hunted dozens of skills and languages – or none. But no matter what, every time you sit down with a new fluent fool to fluency hunt their skill, you will always start at the beginning, by copy-catting, and mumble your way to fluency.
Attaining excellence requires you first embrace foolishness.
Perfection is the enemy of accelerated learning. “Close enough” must be good enough. A lack of mistakes or awkwardness indicates a lack of improvement. Where there is action, there is exploration (and thus the discovery of some dead ends).
Technique Mumble may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but it is an essential guide to moving through any skill. Give yourself and others the permission to clumsily begin to work your way through the first steps of skill-building, as mumble is a time-honored technique in countless fields.
We always like to say that WAYK is not a set of new learning techniques, it is just a new way to bring well-known techniques together and share them. Mumble is a good example. For example, in writing, it’s well known that just writing anything, “getting the creative juices flowing”, is imperative to the process. The uncensored free write is a good example of this, the timed (perhaps 15 minutes) exercise of just writing anything that comes to mind, as long as you keep your pen moving.
The problem of “writer’s block” hasn’t disappeared because of the “free-write” exercise. Every technique is, in itself, its own skill, and the skill of applying mumble is itself something that one can continually improve.
The trick is, to actually master the art of applying techniques themselves, which always begins with mumble. There is no way to break a WAYK game, really; any mumble-ing of the general gist of the game is a good enough start. The game can be mumble-ed through, the target skill or language can be mumble-ed, the hand-signs can be mumble-ed. Close enough is truly good enough – you’ll still experience accelerated learning. By improving, you’ll just experience more and more acceleration.
Introducing the technique in language acquisition
Short: “Technique Mumble: ‘Close enough is good enough’.”
Long: “You can mumble your way through the speech and the hand signs, no worries, close enough is good enough in the beginning.”
Applying the technique in language acquisition
Give constant permission to your players to mumble through everything in the beginning. As they build fluency, they will naturally make a greater effort to enunciate and copy-cat more exactly. You can help this along through tq Correct One Thing. Mumble does not mean players will mumble forever – it means it’s good enough for now.
But what about…?
New players may protest that they prefer to learn the perfect pronunciation first, rather than mumble-ing.
- tq Fluency directs players to dive in, and start doing.
- tq How Fascinating! turns awkwardness and mistakes into accelerators for game energy.
- tq Bite-sized Pieces guides us to only take on what we can easily handle – and perfect pronunciation can elude even experienced speakers of the target language.
Benjamin Zander – PopTech 2008 : How Fascinating !
■tq How Fascinating ! turns awkwardness and mistakes into accelerators for game energy.
You can find that video under the blogpost for technique “How Fascinating!” too, and a short history on how we ran across the technique: