To excel at learning, we need to be motivated and willing to acquire a new knowledge. We require a clear vision of the outcomes we are pursuing and, finally, the existence of an effective study plan is paramount.
Today my focus will be in showing you effective ways to build a language learning plan.
Have an open mind for growth
Some people think that they are born with a set of qualities which they assume they can’t change. My daughter, for example, every time she is to face a maths exercise, shuts completely down her intellect and freezes in front of the maths paper. You can only hear her shout: “I’m rubbish at maths.”
I’m aware that not all will find the mathematics ‘language’ straight forward, but like in every language, if you crack the code, the message will become clearer once decoded. But first, you must have the willingness to decipher the ‘hieroglyphs'.
Results come through effort, learning and a willingness to succeed.
So, if you lack some skills to help you learn this language faster, don’t forget that you can learn how. Have an open mind. People with growth mindset believe that talent is just an attribute, and that results come through effort, learning and their willingness to succeed.
With a growth mindset, you’ll be more prepared to deal with the different challenges that you will encounter during your language journey; and believe me, there will be plenty.
You should start by analysing your innate assets that will help you learn a language. You should have a clear idea of how much you are willing to commit to improve and keep moving forward. You should ponder how this new language can help you enhance your personal and working life.
When you cultivate a growth mindset, you’re taking responsibility for all the benefits a new language can bring to your life.
As I already pointed out, you should:
- Assess your current skills and attributes.Write down how they can help you in your language study. For example, if you like reading a lot in your mother tongue, see how you can apply it in the different activities that you might plan as a language exercise.
- Assess the outcomes you want to achieve. What knowledge gap you want to bridge. How much you want to study to get to your target level.
Write down your personal study plan (PSP)
Once you identified your goals for growth, you should start planning how to reach them.
A personal study plan will help you focus on the different stages of learning. It will allow you to have a clear vision of your targets and when you achieved them. It will enable you to see the big picture as well.
Your personal study plan should include goals and tasks that are measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) to help you develop the motivation you need to complete them.
For example: “I want to learn X…”
“I want to improve my speaking skills by…….”
“I will study my online course daily”
“I will know that I’ve been successful when…”
You should be able to measure your results.
Examples: “I can successfully hold a conversation in [your foreign language] for 20 minutes” or “because I feel less stressed when expressing myself.”
Your targets should be time-based
For example: “I will learn X new skill by September”
“I will do X by the end of the year”.
While you’re executing your SMART goals, you can carry on seeking out more helpful training resources to move you to language proficiency.
Subscribe to web resources, YouTube channels, language blogs and podcasts. Join language forums. Get involved in online language groups. This will help you get new perspectives and you will interact with other like-minded people.
Developing new language skills and knowledge is exciting and satisfying especially when you can effectively document your progress. But, it can be hard as well. It’s not always easy to find a gap in your busy life and spend it doing a language activity. Therefore, make sure that your plans are realistic and most of all achievable. This will ensure your growth in the knowledge of your target language.
When your personal study plan considers your skills, past and present, what you’re aiming at, your availability, your target will be easier to reach, and you will be more resilient when unforeseen obstacles pop out of nowhere.