How to set language learning goals

Você pode ler esse post em Português clicando aqui.

As part of my Impossible List, I decided that it is time to learn a new language and picked up Spanish.

Before setting my own goal and the set of tools, I decided to take a look at how other language learners approach it, and after watching a couple of videos, I took notes on the ones that I liked most.
It is not really a post, these are videos with notes that I took below each one:

How to LEARN A LANGUAGE on your own | study tips

  1. Set some type of goal that you can mark as done
    • I want to be able to read Harry Potter in my target language
    • I want to have a conversation with a native about…
  2. Gather your resources
    • Find a notebook to write what you are learning
    • Find one or two resources of grammar
    • Use a flashcard app like Anki to learn words
  3. Create a routine
    • Create a routine to keep studying even when you’re unmotivated
      • Sometimes you will lack motivation and your routine will help you to keep the ball rolling
      • Trust your system more than your motivation
    • Create a Daily/Weekly Schedule with at least 30min
  4. How to learn
    • Set your devices in your target language
    • Journal in your target language to force yourself to use the language
    • Podcasts to keep listening to the target language
    • Listen to music, and find time to read the lyrics while you are listening to it.
    • Find a tutor on iTalki to talk 
    • Make sentences throughout the day 
    • Memorize vocabulary, like photography, software dev, cooking, and any other type of content that you like
    • Watch TV Shows 
    • Write sentences 
The Fastest Way to Learn a New Language: The Video Game Map Theory

  1. Memorize the most common words
    • Some words are just more important than others, focus on them
    • Focus on the most common 100 words
    • Then focus on the following thousand words
  2. Start talking early
    • Even though you will not be speaking well, you will be able to communicate, and that is the goal of the language
    • For many people studying grammar is not fun, but I will talk about it later
    • When you talk to someone, you will have the real sensation of communication
  3. You have to make this fun
    • A way to make the learning process more fun is through positive association. The idea is that your brain wants to do something again if the last time it was fun
    • You have to find your own way, make reading a book that you like, watching your favorite tv show
  4. Learn rules, grammar, and pronunciation 
    • Grammar is really necessary, and we can not escape from it
    • Make it after two or three months after the previous steps
    • But we can make it more meaningful now that we know some words, sentences, and structures
Language learning planning: using a monthly journal to review and set goals

  1. Track the amount spent learning in each app or method
    • Review the number of classes that you have with a private teacher(like on iTalki)
    • Track if you are Journaling every day
    • How many podcasts episodes did you listen to
    • How many YouTube videos did you watch
    • How many lessons did you finish in Babbel or Duolingo
  2. Write a monthly summary of your progress
    • What were my struggles 
    • What worked well
  3. Set the goals for the next month
    • Set the goals that you want to accomplish 
    • Pick up the materials that you will use next month
How to set SMART language learning goals

The main point here is that being specific is probably the most important thing when it comes to setting goals.

The acronym SMART stands for:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
  1. Specific: What are you trying to learn? 
    • Instead of saying general statements such as I want to learn German, be more specific say something like I want to learn how to introduce myself in German, or I want to learn how to order food in German, I want to talk about myself in German.
    • This way, you can be clear about what do you want to achieve
  2. Measurable: Make sure that you can measure your progress somehow
    • How many words do you want to learn
    • How much time will you study
    • Here you can talk with a teacher as well to evaluate your level or take a proficiency test 
  3. Ambitious: Make your goals challenging 
    • Make your goal hard enough for you to put some effort and see progress
  4. Realistic: Challenging but not impossible 
    • If your goal is impossible for you to achieve, it can make you frustrated 
    • Find a balance between ambition and reality
  5. Time-based: Set deadlines
    • Try to create a mix of short, medium, and long term goals
    • This way, you will know when to measure each of them
How to actually create + achieve your language goals this summer (Tips for language learning goals)

I am really hopeful for the next generations, and for this reason, it is cool to see such a young girl talking about how she is setting goals.

How to set goals
  1. Create realistic goals
    • Instead of setting a goal such as “I want to be fluent in 3 months”, you can do something more realistic such as “I want to have basic conversations in two weeks”
  2. Create small goals
    • Create 1 or 2 small goals every week
    • For languages that are much more complex to learn depending on your native language, you can have small goals, such as: 
      • I want to learn how to pronounce the name of 15 characters of my favorite Japanese tv show
      • I want to be able to ask and say things such as “how are you?” “how old are you?” and “where do you live?”
    • And gradually you can make these weekly goals more difficult.
  3. Think about what you have trouble with
    • I have to work on something complex for you
    • If you have problems with pronunciation, or reading, or listening, create a goal based on what is hard for you
  4. Focus on different things based on your level
    • Beginners: focus on vocabulary
    • Intermediate: focus on vocabulary and grammar 
    • Advanced: focus on speaking, grammar, and reading
How to accomplish your goals
  1. Have a notebook or checklist to structure your learning process 
  2. Put your goals where you can see them make sure you will not forget it
  3. Organize your time, set a specific time to work on your goals

With all of that in mind, my next step will be to set my goals.