What does an athlete, actor, child, and networker have in common? Each is a great metaphor, an archetype for language learning. Archetypes are symbolic representations that capture complex ideas in easy-to-digest packages – the abstract becomes familiar. They are a collection of attitudes, desires, behaviors, and beliefs; near-perfect models of the ideal language learner. Equally important is to be familiar with shadow archetypes so that learners know what to avoid. There is an entire spectrum between the archetype and the shadow archetype, learners will fall somewhere in between. Each archetype can be expressed in different degrees, but it’s more useful to talk about the extremes. The shadow archetypes – escapist, narcissist, adult, loner-hermit – lie on the other end of the spectrum.
For each archetype, where on the spectrum would you be?
What can you do to move towards the perfect archetypes?
What can you do to move away from the shadow archetypes?