New Year is a time for fresh starts and we definitely need one of those after 2020! A great place to begin is by setting your intentions for the upcoming months. What do you hope to achieve in your life and in your language learning?
Why set goals for language learning?
Learning a new language is a huge task and it can be difficult to stay motivated. As with learning any new skill, you feel much more motivation when you can see that you’re progressing. That’s why at EC Brighton, we encourage students to set themselves goals. By doing this, they can keep on track and really see where they are improving. And what better time to start than at the beginning of a new year?
What’s a good goal?
When setting yourself a goal, it’s a good idea to follow the SMART model. This means making your goals:
Specific – This means deciding exactly what it is that you want to achieve. It shouldn’t be too vague or you won’t really know if you have managed to do it.
Measurable – This usually means giving yourself a number to work to. You should say how many or how long you would like to do something. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of what you have done so that you can check this.
Achievable – Here you should make sure that your aim is something you can actually do. It’s important not to set yourself impossible tasks because you will feel demotivated if you fail.
Relevant – Everybody’s goals should be personal to them and also reflect their ability and needs. If you are just beginning your English language journey, you shouldn’t try to run before you can walk. Learning how to use mixed conditionals is not going to help you if you can’t use the present simple yet.
Timebound – This is where you need to set yourself a deadline. When are you going to do this by? If you are not clear about this, then you can often fall into the trap of saying ‘I’ll do it later’.
|Good example||Bad example|
I’m going to learn expressions to use to begin and end formal emails.
|I’m going to learn more vocabulary.|
I’m going to learn 10 new phrasal verbs every week and write one example sentence of how I can use them.
|I’m going to learn more phrasal verbs.|
I’m going to read one book or graded reader every month.
|I’m going to read Harry Potter in one day.|
I’m going to learn expressions for making phone calls so I can feel more confident answering the phone at work.
|I’m going to learn all the different grammatical forms to speak about the past, present and future.|
|Timebound||I’m going to write one IELTS essay by the end of the week.||I’m going to write one IELTS essay.|
A big part of getting the results that you want is remaining focused and on task. On our English courses in Brighton, our teachers help our students to achieve this by conducting regular tutorials. During these meetings we discuss students’ current goals, set new goals and encourage students to keep pushing towards their targets. Having someone to hold you accountable can really help you to keep going and smash your goal, be it achieving a 7 in IELTS or just building your confidence.