In the early 1970’s, Mr. Shoichi Kaneko and others translated some of America’s best loved comics: Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, and Blondie and Dagwood. These comics were compiled into a series of books and published, and proved to be very popular. Why? The language was not simply translated, but the context in which it was used, why it was used, the nuance, and the feelings behind the language were explained. In this way, the words and characters came alive; with a little imagination, understanding and appreciation of the language deepened.
Inside the covers of these books was an explanation of a new strategy for learning English: the F.I.A. strategy.
Feeling– Try not to reason with your brain, but feel with your whole body. Use all of your senses and faculties to grasp at the meaning of words and language. Language is abstract and untouchable, but through feelings, we can sense the meanings of words and language.
Imagination– Through imagination, words and language come alive. The power of the imagination is immense, having no boundaries or limits. Though man can not physically fly, we can fly in our minds. Developing an active imagination opens the mind to new concepts and information.
Action– Passiveness does not go far in learning a language. Be proactive: try to use newly acquired words, speak to others before being spoken to, and ask questions. Through action and interaction with others, we can assimilate language and its meaning.
Mr. Kaneko has continued to promote this philosophy throughout F.I.A.’s history. In order to learn language, you need more than textbooks, teachers and classrooms. You need to learn a languge using your senses and imagination. How do children learn a language? They hear a word. They feel out the meaning of the word in a particular situation and context. They imagine what it means. They take action to use the word and make it a part of them.