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Why do I need to set a goal for learning English?

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Why do I need to set a goal for learning English?

Setting a goal helps me focus on what I want to improve the most while learning English. Learning styles: We all have different styles when we learn new things. A good amount of people prefer to learn with pictures. Pictures help to illustrate ideas. Several students learn better with groups while others want to learn alone. Some learners remember and learn new words when they sing songs or watch movies or TV shows. What’s your learning style? Learning strategies: A learning strategy is a plan that learners follow to achieve their learning goals. Let’s say that your goal is to learn more vocabulary. So your learning strategy will be, for example, using flashcards or keeping a notebook where you record the new vocabulary. Another strategy will be trying to use new words in your daily conversation to remember them.

- How to set a goal for learning English?

- Ask yourself why you want to learn English. This will help you set your goal. Make sure it's a “SMART” goal:

Specific: Don’t say “I want to improve my English.” This is very general and overwhelming. You’d rather say: “I want to improve my pronunciation.” Or you can say, “I want to use better grammar.”


Measurable: The best way to measure your progress is to take all the assessments in your class and monitor your progress in your “portfolio”. Read the instructor’s feedback and follow her/his advice carefully.

Achievable: Be careful when you set your goal. Make sure that you can achieve your goal with some work and effort. If you make your goal an easy one, you’ll feel bored after a short time. Challenge yourself to achieve your goal.

Realistic: Your goal should be interesting for you. It should be something that you want to achieve and that is relevant to your real life.

Time limit: Set a time for your goal. Assess your progress after this time. Move on to the next goal if you’ve achieved this one. If you haven’t, check what went wrong and adjust your learning strategy or plan to accomplish your goal.

Examples of goals any learner of a second language would want to achieve: In Listening:

- Listen to and understand a phone message.

- Follow instructions to find a location

- Listen to your child’s teacher and understand what is expected from your child at school.

- Listen to and understand the weather report and dress well for the weather.

In Speaking:

- Able to greet, open and keep a small conversation with a neighbor or classmate.

- Able to give a recipe to a friend.

- Able to request services.

- Can tell a short story about a typical day in my childhood.


In Reading:

- Read and understand an email from a friend or your child's school.

- Read and follow the instructions on a commercial product.

- Read a memo posted in a workplace or school giving information about a new policy.

- Read 2 or 3 movie reviews online to decide which movie to see.

In Writing:

- Write an email to a friend with a short update on what happened last week.

- Copy definitions from 2 or 3 sources (such as online dictionaries or grammar websites).

- Write an email to the phone company to request information or cancel a service.

- Write to a friend to share information about a new home (house or apartment).

- How can I make sure that I’m moving towards achieving my goal? Your instructor will ask you to answer a few questions in a form that has the title “Learner's feedback” at the end of each module. By answering the questions in this form, you’ll recognize how much English you’ve learned so far. You’ll also be able to determine whether you’re following the right learning plan (strategy) or whether you need to adjust it. In addition, it is very helpful to provide your instructor with ideas or suggestions for a better learning experience.


Now remember, in order to improve your English, you need to follow these steps:

1. Imagine yourself speaking fluent English.

2. Create your “SMART” goal. Don’t forget to write it down.

3. Create an action plan. This is your learning strategy.

4. Follow your plan.

5. Monitor your progress.

6. Re-evaluate and assess your progress. Fill in the “Learner’s reflection” form.

A. Answer the following questions:

1. Describe your learning style.


2. What are your learning strategies to achieve your goal?


3. Why do you want to learn English?


4. What is a self-assessment?


5. What is a learner’s feedback?


6. Set one more specific goal under each skill.

a. Listening: ___________________ b. Speaking: ___________________

c. Reading: ____________________ d. Writing: ____________________


B. Check the meaning of the following words in the dictionary:

1. Illustrate: (_____) _____________________________________________

2. Strategy: (_____) ______________________________________________

3. Overwhelming: (_____) __________________________________________

4. Portfolio: (_____) ______________________________________________

5. Challenge: (_____) _____________________________________________

6. Relevant: (_____) ______________________________________________

7. Assess: (_____) _______________________________________________

8. Adjust: (_____) _______________________________________________

9. Greet: (_____) ________________________________________________

10. Typical: (_____) ______________________________________________

11. Recognize: (_____) ____________________________________________

12. Determine: (_____) ____________________________________________

13. Adjustment: (_____) ___________________________________________

14. Provide: (_____) ______________________________________________

15. Suggestions: (_____) ___________________________________________


C. Find the Action plans for the following specific goals. Then add your own:



D. Finish writing this paragraph:

In order to improve our English, we have to set a goal and prepare a plan to achieve it. I set a SMART goal for myself in order to improve my English proficiency. My goal is specific because ____________________. I can measure my progress towards my goal through the assessments I take. I want to be able to achieve my goal, so ____________________. My goal should be achievable. That means it shouldn’t be too easy or too difficult. Instead, it will be __________ and I can achieve it with some hard work and effort. I'm trying to make my goal reasonable. As a result ____________________. Finally, the time limit for my goal is ____________________. This is when I will assess my progress and make changes to my plans. If I face challenges or obstacles, or if I fail to achieve my goal, I will ____________________. As for my learning style, I prefer to ____________________. Accordingly, I will ____________________, and I’m planning to ____________________. I think I can also ____________________.



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