Setting English learning goals the SMART way

SMART GOALS illustration

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Why do you need to set goals when you study English?

  • They keep you on track.
  • They encourage you to achieve more.

What are SMART goals?

  • A good guide to setting goals.
  • It means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time- based.
  • SMART goals say what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.

How to make SMART goals

  1. Make it Specific

    • Decide on what type of skills you want to improve on.
    • Examples: pronouncing certain words, writing better emails, increasing vocabulary, etc.
    • Choose one or two skills you would like to work on.
    • Start small. When you succeed, move on to another language skill.
  2. How are you going to Measure your goals?

    • Set ways to know that you have reached your goals.
    • Examples: If your goal is to increase your vocabulary:
      • Learned five new words this week
      • Used them in an email or conversation correctly

  3. Make it Attainable

    • Don’t make your goals too hard.
    • Make it realistic for the amount of time you set.
    • For example: If you want to write better emails:
      • focus on writing a short paragraph for now.
      • make it simple and error-free.

      When you have done this, you can write longer emails.

  4. Is it Relevant?

    • Choose activities related to your language learning goal.
    • Select classes in line with your goals and language level.
    • For example, if you want to write good emails, enrol in a writing-based English class. Don’t go to an academic writing class.
    • Ask the coordinator about the skills they will teach for the program. See if it is useful for your goal.
  5. Set a Time frame for accomplishing a goal.

    • Allot time every week to work on your goal.
    • It can be 20 minutes every day, or two hours on a weekend. Decide what works best for you.
    • Set a date to start and a target date to reach each goal.
    • Give more time for harder goals.
    • Set the schedule and get to work!

    Need more help?

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