“Don’t think in Portuguese!”
This is probably the same as telling someone not to think of a pink elephant, isn’t it? So why do we hear it so constantly from teachers?
What does that mean?
Don’t think like a man!
Don’t think like a teenager!
Don’t think like a Brazilian!
Is that even possible, in the first place?
It seems as if we had to leave something behind in order to master English. But isn’t learning always all about adding up new stuff to our knowledge background?
Well, let’s face it, you will always think differently from a native speaker. And that’s not a problem. Not at all.
We are not supposed to give up anything to learn English and speak it fluently. Both your Portuguese and English can live together happily ever after.
However, you will have to learn how to think in English as well. It’s a new mindset that you will have to embrace.
I know, it may sound pretty much the same thing, but it isn’t. As I said, learning consists of adding up new things to our current knowledge. And the good news is, we have endless room for learning in our mind. In fact, the more you learn, the more spacious it gets!
You don’t have to forget Portuguese when you speak English, the same way you don’t have to forget how to drive a car when you are riding a motorbike. The thing is, you can even benefit from having a distinct knowledge of these different things.
I think when teachers say “do not think in Portuguese”, they actually mean “do not use Portuguese as your reference point”, but I would add just a little thing to that, and would rather say “do not use ONLY Portuguese as your reference point”.
Portuguese will always be part of you and of your thinking, and you should benefit from that, not be ashamed. However, there is a whole new world waiting for you in English, in which mindsets and cultural backgrounds shape thinking in a different way, and you will have a great time learning it!
So, don’t be afraid. There is no need to eliminate anything to speak English fluently. Education always makes us bigger and broader. That’s the magic about it!