Goal Setting is something I started to write about on my Instagram earlier this week. I started learning Norwegian with the incredibly vague goal of “I want to be able to speak Norwegian”. But what does that really mean? We’ve all seen the SMART targets model where a goal should always be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time limited but I realised that there is so much more to it than that.
As a teacher I was used to planning for my classes. We produced long term, medium term and short term plans to ensure that the children would be making progression towards the overall curriculum goals by the end of the school year. The long term goals were set out in the curriculum by the government and so my job was to break those down in to more manageable pieces for the children to attain. Medium term plans laid out a term’s worth of learning whereas short term planning were weekly plans with specific daily provision put in for key children.
I have started to think about my language goals in the way I would if I were to be teaching it to a class.
Step one: What is your long term goal?
No one can tell you what your ultimate goal for learning a language should be, and you need to really think about what you want to achieve. This will really help you chose the right aspects of study that will support your aims. For example, if your ultimate goal is to travel and have basic conversations then you probably do not need to spend time on extensive readings.
I am marrying my partner who is Norwegian this year and so I want to be able to speak with his family fluently without having to have them switch to English for me. However, I also would love to live and work in Scandinavia one day and so I want to be able to have a working proficiency of spoken and written Norwegian which will also help me transition to other Scandinavian languages. Therefore I should pass a C1 language exam. This process may take several years and so breaking it down will help pave the way to achieving this.
Step Two: Medium Term Goals
This next step is to decide what you want to achieve in the next 3-6 months. This is long enough that you will be able to see and measure your progress and it will also be some pretty big steps towards your overall goal. After 3-6 months your medium term goals will change and grow to get you closer to your overall aim. Reviewing and evaluating your progress with this every few months is essential to make sure a plan is working for you.
With my overall goals in mind, my medium term goals for the next 3-6months are therefore:
- To pass the A1-A2 Norwegian exam
- To read and understand children’s short story unassisted
- To use only Norwegian when I next go to a café/restaurant/bar in Norway
Step Three: Mini Goals
I love using mini goals because they are daily/weekly and they are the ‘quick wins’ which can really boost your confidence and make you see the progress you are making.
Just as the medium term goals feed into the long term goals, so to should the mini goals work towards your medium term goals.
My mini goals for this week are:
- To get to level 16 in Duolingo (which will build my conversational vocabulary)
- To be able to listen to and transcribe a short dialogue
- To recall and use my newest 10 flashcards in speaking practise.
I would love to find out more about your goal setting both big and small and how you keep track of your progress with these. I have been developing some printables for this exact kind of goal setting and I hope to have them perfected soon so that I can upload them to my blog for others to download as I would love some feedback on their effectiveness.
Have a great week