Unfortunately for language students, language learning is not at all straight forward or linear. In fact, there is very little in your language journey that you share with another language learner. Yes, you could both be learning Spanish, but your language study processes could be drastically different. In addition, when you first start learning, there’s a lot of grey area around what is the best material for you, how long you should be studying per day, how much material to learn, and what goals to set. You may have bought a fancy new language learning planner and have no idea what to put in it! It can be so overwhelming that it can drive away self-learners within weeks or days!
Never fear! I’m not here to scare you (because I ain’t good at it). Instead, i’m here to learn how to learn Korean, Spanish, French, Italian, etc as efficiently as possible and provide study tips for you!
Why should you create language learning goals?
- There is no teacher, so you need to decide what you want to learn and by when
- Keeps you organized
- Keeps you motivated
- Helps you tell whether or not you are improving
- Helps you become more efficient with your time
- You’ll learn faster
You MUST set goals as a self-study language learner. Period. How to do so however, can be the struggle. So here I lay out two major ways to track your language learning to insure faster progress!
Number Based Tracking
If you’re in the beginning phase of your language learning process, your starting with a blank slate so you must begin with the basics. Just like a toddler learning a new language, you must learn shape, numbers, colors and all of that jazz. So it really helps at this stage to use the number based tracking so that you can learn all the basics without missing anything. It’s also very methodical. You need to be as organized as possible. Below is a list of trackable goals in the beginning of your language learning journey.
- Learn to introduce yourself (hello, my name is, I’m from, etc)
- Learn at least 100 Numbers
- Learn ten hobbies Hobbies (reading, watching tv, listening to music, etc)
- Learn ten countries Countries (USA, Japan, Korea, etc)
- Learn ten shapes Shapes (square, triangle, circle)
- Learn 15 Colors (red, yellow, blue, etc)
- Learn 30 Objects in the home (stove, couch, tv, shower, etc)
- Learn 30 Objects at school (chair, desk, pen, pencil, notebook, etc)
- Learn 20 articles of Clothing (shirt, jeans, shoes, coat, etc)
- Learn 10 Animals (dog, cat, fish, etc)
- Learn 6 ways to describe Weather (rain, wind, snow, etc)
- Learn 30 basic verbs (am, is, have, like, eat, say, think, etc)
- Learn 10 basic adjectives (pretty, tall, short, bright, dark, etc)
You can also call this method the number based method, because you are using a base number of words to learn to track your progress. This could take weeks or months to accomplish, but tracking how much you are able to get through will help you make sure you’re keeping pace.
Topic Based Tracking
If you’re like me and like to learn based on topics that you actually give a damn about (like BTS, fashion, beauty, philosophy and travel) then you can use those topics, and many others, to learn languages. All you need is a notebook, pen and four topics per month (one per week) and you’ll be off! Here’s an example of how it works:
You can use the above format to track your weekly vocab and grammar goals depending on your topic. For example, you can choose fashion as your topic for the week and then choose how many vocabulary words you want to study per week (I recommend 10 per day if you don’t have much time to study and 30 per day if you are studying more intensively) and grammar you want to study. Then you can use the block method (pictured above) to track your progress. I also track the exact words I’m learning by using three circles after each vocab words. Each represent how well I’ve learned the vocabulary.
Here is another example of how to format your bullet journal:
As you can see, this option combines four elements: reading, writing, speaking and vocabulary. Each block is one week and the tiny blocks inside are to be shaded if you completed them. Above the blocks are the topics I chose for the week. Instead of setting a number amount to learn, I write down what I have generally learned to express after I have learned them.
So here are two great ways to track your language learning! Do you track your studies differently?
Hope this was helpful! Thanks for reading!
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