One of the required books for Applied Linguistics Class: Communication in Second Language Classroom that I take this semester is Neil Mercer’s Words & Mind, How We Use Language to Think Together. Last week, the professor asked the students to read first three chapters (72 pages) and write a 150 to 300 words reflective essay about it. So the first three chapters of the book highlight the use of language to think together. The chapters put detail explanation about how people use language in a conversational learning to think together, how they lay foundations for the conversation to make sure that everyone involved in it has the same common ground, and how to connect prior, current, and anticipated knowledge that blend together in the thinking together process. The chapters have reminded me of the thinking together, the conversational process that me and my wife have in the last eight months.
My wife and I are expecting our first baby this Fall 2016. The doctor says that the due date is October 28. For us, it is exciting yet worrying experience. Who are not excited to expect first baby? but in fact we are here far away from home, from support of our family, we are worried about many things. Therefore, we promise to become a great support system to each other. Since the first day we noticed that we will have our first baby, we have spent a significant amount of time to have conversational learning about pregnancy, delivery, and parenting. Relating to the topic discussed in these three chapters in Mercer, pregnancy and parenting have become the context for the conversational learning, a thinking together process that me and my wife do to develop our knowledge. To make sure that we are on the same page, we read books and articles, watched videos about pregnancy, delivery, and parenting; then we discussed them. This way, we build common grounds for our conversational learning, our thinking together process.
We also exchange questions about the topics to find out how much we know about it. This way we tried to make links between past and present knowledge. However, there are times when we stuck in our conversational learning, especially when we encounter conflicting information about the same issue. Also, we still have many unanswered questions relating to parenting. So, there are many things that we cannot understand until we there in the situation. Here, although we have done numerous conversation to think together about parenting, we laid grounds for that conversation, since the context – the baby – is still not yet “available”, there are many questions we do not know the answers yet. Surely, we cannot expect the baby comes with “owner’s manual”. One that that Mercer did not touch in his chapters is that in the conversations, the thinking together process that me and my wife have, involve emotion, a central theme of every human being interactions. I think that we will continue this thinking together process as it facilitates us to learn about each other, to learn about our inner world and the world where we live.
State College, September 1, 2016
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