Make your study plan
It’s hard to know how to start learning a language. Discover your reasons, the skills you want, how to rate your skill level simply, and your best learning styles. Receive the free guidebook straight to your email box, simply click the button.
Do you have a clear purpose for learning Spanish in your study plan? Understanding your reason why and what abilities you want to have are important to have a focused Spanish study plan. Your big dream will help you set a solid language learning plan with clear goals.
I usually skip planning. I love being spontaneous and flexible. But sometimes that means there are unexpected problems and often I end up doing something I didn’t want to do. A few years ago, I took my five kids on a road trip across the United States. This took some basic planning. Just like a road trip, learning Spanish has a destination too. In learning a language the destination is the ability to communicate in Spanish.
Let’s begin your language learning journey with a big dream.
But wait, first you need to know where your skill levels are. To rate yourself, go to the language skills ratings post. Once you’ve done that, continue below…
Second Part – Dream and Set Skills Goals
Today is a brainstorming session. Imagine your future bilingual self! All these questions will help you to uncover some possibilities you’ve never thought possible before. Set aside all limits and present circumstances. You are completely free to dream big. This part is exciting!
- What are you doing?
- Who are you talking to?
- What are you talking about?
- Or are you reading?
- Where in the world are you?
These ideas are going to motivate you on your language learning journey.
Step 2 – Dream Big Spanish Language Dreams
Consider different timeframes
Also, think of how your ability and purposes will change over time. Go outside the present and next couple of years and consider 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now. Your life stages change and so will your opportunities.
Although this step takes imagination, your dreams are grounded in reality. A real picture of the ways you’ll use Spanish is very specific. A vague intention to become “bilingual or fluent in Spanish” is too broad. Be specific.
Questions to uncover all the possibilities
Everyone has a different personality and desires. The main idea behind the brainstorm is you can do anything in Spanish. Any of these questions will help you dig deeper into your purposes. The ultimate question is:
You can do anything in Spanish, it’s your choice:
- Are you somewhere else?
- Has your profession or employer changed?
- Something you thought was impossible?
- Your favorite thing to do?
- How do you socialize?
- Any new opportunities?
- What plans do you have?
- What do you do in your free time?
Inspiration from others
What’s important to one person, is not a priority to another. Not everyone wants to become fully fluent, but they have one very specific purpose. Here are some reasons from Spanish learners:
I want to…… in Spanish
- read well
- get scholarships
- understand news and movies
- have conversations with new people I meet
- move to a new place
- retire in Costa Rica
- work with people
- have conversations with my children
- learn one language each year for the rest of my life
- talk to family
The reasons for learning Spanish are different for everyone. Some people just love languages and are obsessed with Spanish. If you are a bilingual mother like me, you want your children to be able to do everything in Spanish. Everyone is looking for something different.
Write it down
Get the Spanish Study Plan Guidebook to write down your answers. It is helpful to refine your goals and progress along the way.
Step 3 – Set Language Skills Goals for Your Dream
One size does not fit all when it comes to your specific dreams. A unique set of language skills and skill levels apply to your purposes. Your study plan focuses only on the skills you’ll need to fulfill your dreams.
Choose your future set of language skills
Consider your dream and choose which language skills you need. Filter out the skills that don’t apply. There is no reason to work on your listening and speaking skills when you only plan on reading books. And vice versa. Some want full fluency, so they will focus on growing every skill.
which language skills do you need?
The four language skills fall into two different categories. The first set are the oral skills, listening and speaking. The next are the written skills, reading and writing. Further the other categories are comprehension and expression. Listening and reading are the comprehension skills. Speaking and writing are the expression skills. Again, your focus depends on how you intend to use Spanish in real life.
Rate your future focus skill levels
Last time, you rated your experience level for each language skill. The ratings are the starting point for your study plan. Today, you’ll set a goal for each of the language skills you selected above. Again, rate how much experience you’ll need to achieve your objectives.
Language Skill Rating Scale
Meanings of the language skill ratings
This simple ratings system is a scale of zero to ten. Zero means you have no experience. Struggling means you started learning and have little ability to communicate. The midpoint, 5, is the peak of the mountain. Many language learners give up before reaching a level of 5. Stretching is when your abilities to communicate are flourishing. Ten means your communication abilities are perfect.
how much experience does your dream require?
Setting a goal makes a gap appear. The gap is going to be filled in the next part of making a study plan. For now, write down a rating for each skill you need. A measurable goal includes the skill, current rating and future rating.
“I will increase my ______________ skill from _____ current rating to ______ future rating.”
Good Language Learning Goals
Everyone wants to accomplish something different. Your objective and goals set your focus. Some Spanish learners want to be able to talk about basics on their next trip. Others want to read books in Spanish. Most don’t want to become perfectly fluent, but there are a few who need professional skills. As you see, different skills and different levels make different study plans.
Future Skills Ratings
- 0 I never want to hear anyone speak Spanish
- 5 I will occasionally understand what someone says in Spanish
- 10 I will understand everything someone says in Spanish with every kind of accent possible.
- 0 I will never say anything in Spanish
- 5 I will speak Spanish occasionally and sometimes I will make sense
- 10 I will say everything correctly in Spanish and I will sound like a native speaker.
- 0 I will never read anything in Spanish
- 5 I will read and understand some things written in Spanish
- 10 I will regularly read letters, articles, and books in Spanish with complete understanding.
- 0 I will never write anything in Spanish
- 5 I will write a sentence in Spanish that makes sense
- 10 I will write letters, novels, articles and persuasive speeches that are extraordinary in Spanish.
After setting your future goals, now compare your current and future ratings. Your Spanish study plan fills the gap between todays and your future abilities.
Language Goals Examples
A language learner need to tailor a study plan to their purpose. People share their dreams and they are all different. Of course some people share common goals. Perhaps yours are similar to one of these language goals examples:
- Read a book in Spanish: reading 10, varies by reading level
- Join a book club: reading 10, listening and speaking 7
- Conversations: listening and speaking 10
- Homeschool: any skills to any level, based on interest and timeframe
- In the home: listening and speaking level 5-7, reading and writing level
- Migrant: all skills 10, the full package
- Movie watcher: listening 7, reading 7 (for subtitles)
- Professional: all skills level 7 or higher with focus on professional vocabulary
- Singers: listening, speaking, reading level 3-7
- Spanish in one year: any skills to any level, based on interest and time limitation
- Spanish student: all skills level 1-5 with focus on completing textbook assignments
- Travel: all skills levels 3-7 with focus on listening and speaking skills with tourism vocabulary
To be a successful language learner, all it takes is a little planning. The study plan guidebook will help you discover your purpose, set your skills goals and next, fill in your study plan to reach your goals. Just like my awesome road trip, the planning was worth it. The journey was an adventure and so is your language learning journey too.