S.M.A.R.T. Language Goals
Updated: Aug 5, 2022
What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?
Random fun fact: In 1981, George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham created the S.M.A.R.T. acronym for remembering the traits of effective goals. The acronym represents goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Today, the S.M.A.R.T. acronym is known as a checklist for creating productive and detailed goals.
Read more to learn how the S.M.A.R.T. acronym can be used to create language goals.
What should language goals include?
Your language goals should be details. For example, here are just a few questions that your language goals should be able to answer: What do you want to be able to do with the language(s) you're studying? Which skills do you want to improve on first? When do you want to achieve your goals? How are you going to measure your progress?
Think about it this way:
Your language goals should be as detailed as GPS instructions. You want them to clearly define how you are going to get to your destination. If your GPS said "turn right, keep going, and then turn left. It's on your left," you're most likely going to get lost, right? Ask and answer as many questions as you can to create a goal with exact directions and a final destination.
Keep reading for an example of a great language goal!
"How can the S.M.A.R.T. acronym help me create my language goals?"
As mentioned above, the acronym helps you to create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. To apply these traits to your language goals, make sure you can identify each of the following points in your sentence(s):
1. Define “fluency,”
2. Have a way to measure progress,
3. Make sure the goal is possible for the person to achieve,
4. Relate to why the person wants to reach the goal,
5. Have a reasonable deadline.
"The more detailed your language goals are, the higher your chances are of achieving them."
"Casual" language goals vs. S.M.A.R.T. language goals
Let's take a look at two goals to see how useful the S.M.A.R.T. acronym can be for reaching a form of "conversational fluency":
1. I will be conversationally fluent in Esperanto by the end of the year.
2. By December 31st, 2022, I will be able to have a 30-minute Esperanto conversation with a native speaker via iTalki. To do this, I will check my progress with a tutor at least once a month to become comfortable with talking about the following topics: introductions, work life, hobbies, interests, past experiences, goals.
Goals like the first example can be great for seeing the big picture, but the issue is that the end goal isn't clear. What does it mean to be "conversationally fluent"? How are you going to be able to measure that?
The second goal is better as a language goal because it has a lot of details. I know what this person wants to be able to do, the deadline, and how this person plans to get to the end goal. The second goal is like a map; I can see how the person is going to get to their destination.
Like this, having clear and well-defined S.M.A.R.T. goals can bring you one step closer to, well, achieving them. Remember this acronym whenever you're making long-term goals, whether they're for learning a language or for saving money!
The best way to define fluency for yourself is to determine what you want to be able to do with the language you're studying and make a list.
From the earlier example, fluency meant being able to "having a 30-minute conversation" in the language. Maybe your definition of fluency is just being able to read subtitles for a specific show or write social media posts. The big takeaway is this:
Fluency goals can be as big or small as your imagination, but the takeaway here is to make sure they are measurable and related to what you want to be able to do with the language.
If you haven't taken the "What's your end goal?" quiz, take a few minutes to do it.
The results from the quiz not only direct you to how you may want to use the language you're studying, but they even come with S.M.A.R.T. goal templates for your fluency results when you click "learn more".
Already know what you want to do with the language you're studying? Click any of the goals below to learn more about the quiz results and find some S.M.A.R.T. goal templates for the topics below:
Advanced Conversational Fluency
Input Fluency (Reading and Listening Fluency)
Note: These are just general definitions of "fluency," so use these results as a starting point and take time to create your own definition of fluency when making your goals.
That's all for this one!! Check out our other blog posts to learn even more about creating goals and solid study plans!!
Need more? Check out our resources for PDFs, resource instructions, and a sneak peak of the content in our Spade Language Playing Cards!
Ok, now it's really done! Happy learning!
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