During my summer holiday I met friends who are all Japanese. Three of them used to be my students in Inari-juku, and one of them was the most improved in writing and the other two were few of the most improved in speaking.

I spent at least 5 hours with those two, and we spent almost all the entire time talking. Sometimes there were words they didn’t know or forgot and had to look up in their dictionary, but most of the time we had no problems speaking to each other.

While I was with them I thought about what keeps them talking for hours and I realized that although they have somewhat different personalities, they have one thing in common: willingness.

Willing students are usually open to try anything. It doesn’t matter if they think it’s boring or easy or bothersome. They’re gonna try it because they want to challenge it. This gives them an opportunity to try different things and eventually find out what works for them and what doesn’t.

Willing students also don’t wait for me to always start a conversation. They ask questions and express their ideas so the conversation keeps going. This gives them more opportunities to practice, and gives me and them a chance to discover what topics they find difficult to talk about.

If you decide to be a student, you have to be willing to learn.