4 tips to set learning objectives and achieve them

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Caroline MosserAnglais
10 janvier 2018
81
2 minutes
With the beginning of a new year, many of us are setting objectives, including ones regarding language learning. Learning a new language or improving one we have already studied are common goals. They are great and exciting, we get to learn about a new culture, we’re able to communicate in that language, and maybe to travel where it is spoken and use it (ideally).
Seeing students excited at the idea of learning French is one of the many reasons why I love teaching languages. However, I have seen many language students lose their excitement because they feel that they are not achieving their goals. Often this is due to their linguistic goals/learning objectives being too vague, which in turns leads to students believing that they are not making progress towards their goal(s) even if that is far from the case! To prevent this from happening, I suggest establishing clear, pragmatic goals that are realistic.

1. Before establishing your objectives, try to answer these questions:
  • Why do you want to learn that language? Your end goal will help you focus on a specific aspect of the language and identify specific skills you need to reach that goal. Whether it is for future travels or because you want to read that one book you love in its original language, the focus, and skills needed will vary a lot!
  • What is your learning style? This one can be difficult to answer. There are a lot of different ways to learn a language – you can focus on a traditional approach with a heavy focus on grammar and exercises, you can privilege an immersion approach, you can base your learning on games. Find one that you enjoy and it will keep you motivated and won’t feel like a drag!

2. Think in terms of specific themes
If you are learning a language for work, focusing on how to write a formal email would be a good example. If you are interested in watching movies, focusing on listening skills might be more appropriate. If you want to travel, focusing on asking basic questions would be more useful.

3. Keep a timeline
This one is though, especially if you have many other things going on but having a clear timeline can help you keep track of your studies and will help you see your progress and keep you motivated. With a timeline, you can have both the big picture and realistic goals.

4. Find ways to evaluate your progress in appropriate ways
The best way to see progress is to evaluate yourself. There are many language tests available online that can help you with that. You can also test your progress with exercises that test your understanding of an audio file or a short text on a specific subject you’ve been working on.
Français Tutor Caroline
$27.00-30.00
USD/h

Caroline

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(236)
Flag Français
France
420
Français
Langue maternelle
,
Anglais
C2
,
Allemand
B1
,
Espagnol
B1
Bio: Caroline Mosser is an educator, translator, writer and independent scholar. She has lived and worked in both France and the United States, and is looking forward to more adventures. After earning her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina, she has taught French as a postdoctoral fellow at Utah State University. As a graduate student, she participated in and taught for the competitive Social Advocacy and Ethical Life scholarship program at USC. Having always been fascinated by both the sciences and the humanities, she has focused her work on their connection through the study of the representations of science and technology in popular culture. A life-long learner, she enjoys sharing her knowledge through teaching and participating in various academic and cultural projects (such as translating, interpreting, and editing). In her free time, she enjoys watching science fiction movies and TV shows as well as skating and hiking to make up for her cooking Teaching philosophy: Throughout my academic career, I have been teaching courses in French and English and am comfortable with both languages. I present myself as a mentor to students. Because I believe that teaching is a collaboration between instructor and students, I include open-ended assignment in which they explore their own interest and how it relates to our class. In a basic French-language course, I focus on creating a safe environment where students feel comfortable to participate. Being a native speaker of French, I use my experience of learning English to relate to my students and build a two-way conversation. I tell them on the first day of class that they can correct my English. Students have reacted positively and tend to feel more comfortable expressing their difficulties. I also privilege positive feedback, using an informative rather than corrective feedback policy, and metalinguistic feedback allowing students to figure out their mistake. As a facilitator, I use mostly French in order to build students’ ability to understand the language through contextual clues. I use cultural or personal artifacts to provide visual clues and authentic examples. For instance, when teaching about food, I use menus from French restaurants, asking what they would like to order, which ingredients they expect to find, leading to a discussion comparing what is offered in their favorite restaurants and what they would recommend. In the case of a higher level French-language class, I privilege contemporary material because it is more relevant to students as they include structures and vocabulary likely to be encountered outside of the classroom. Students reflect on language as form and meaning in context and finally, produce their own texts. Doing so allows me to start a discussion on how ideas can be represented differently. It allows us to discuss how meaning can take many forms. Language and literature courses are often criticized for not being practical or for being too focused on textbooks. I disagree. These courses are windows to a world of possibilities and it is my responsibility to make sure that students are able and willing to open them.
$27.00-30.00
USD/h
Flag Français
France
420
Français
Langue maternelle
,
Anglais
C2
,
Allemand
B1
,
Espagnol
B1
Bio: Caroline Mosser is an educator, translator, writer and independent scholar. She has lived and worked in both France and the United States, and is looking forward to more adventures. After earning her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina, she has taught French as a postdoctoral fellow at Utah State University. As a graduate student, she participated in and taught for the competitive Social Advocacy and Ethical Life scholarship program at USC. Having always been fascinated by both the sciences and the humanities, she has focused her work on their connection through the study of the representations of science and technology in popular culture. A life-long learner, she enjoys sharing her knowledge through teaching and participating in various academic and cultural projects (such as translating, interpreting, and editing). In her free time, she enjoys watching science fiction movies and TV shows as well as skating and hiking to make up for her cooking Teaching philosophy: Throughout my academic career, I have been teaching courses in French and English and am comfortable with both languages. I present myself as a mentor to students. Because I believe that teaching is a collaboration between instructor and students, I include open-ended assignment in which they explore their own interest and how it relates to our class. In a basic French-language course, I focus on creating a safe environment where students feel comfortable to participate. Being a native speaker of French, I use my experience of learning English to relate to my students and build a two-way conversation. I tell them on the first day of class that they can correct my English. Students have reacted positively and tend to feel more comfortable expressing their difficulties. I also privilege positive feedback, using an informative rather than corrective feedback policy, and metalinguistic feedback allowing students to figure out their mistake. As a facilitator, I use mostly French in order to build students’ ability to understand the language through contextual clues. I use cultural or personal artifacts to provide visual clues and authentic examples. For instance, when teaching about food, I use menus from French restaurants, asking what they would like to order, which ingredients they expect to find, leading to a discussion comparing what is offered in their favorite restaurants and what they would recommend. In the case of a higher level French-language class, I privilege contemporary material because it is more relevant to students as they include structures and vocabulary likely to be encountered outside of the classroom. Students reflect on language as form and meaning in context and finally, produce their own texts. Doing so allows me to start a discussion on how ideas can be represented differently. It allows us to discuss how meaning can take many forms. Language and literature courses are often criticized for not being practical or for being too focused on textbooks. I disagree. These courses are windows to a world of possibilities and it is my responsibility to make sure that students are able and willing to open them.

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