Is your purpose for learning a second language not clear? Dreaming big about all the ways you'll use Spanish in your real life is hugely important. Your reasons why help you set solid language skill goals.
I love the freedom of being spontaneous, and not planning. But I've learned through the years that having a framework is necessary to accomplish anything. A couple years ago, I set off on a family road trip across the United States. My plan to have many adventures was to head eastward from the Pacific coast.
It was an amazing trip. For the next 90 days, we crossed deserts, forests, swamps with alligators, icy mountain ranges, massive cities and small towns. Along the way we visited several churches, state capitols and playgrounds. Since it was winter, we endured the cold and built snowmen, went sledding, drove in snow storms and on ice, across mountain ranges. We took trains, subways, boats, and taxis. Me and my kids brought back so many great experiences with us.
Learning a second language is a journey in the same way. One that has a purpose and gives many great experiences along the way. Unless you have a destination, a purpose, it would be impossible to start the journey.
Make your study plan
Get a clear picture of where your Spanish skills will take you, and enjoy all the benefits. I'll guide you through some simple steps to create a framework for using Spanish in your real life. Get the Spanish Study Plan Guidebook absolutely free while it lasts.
First step - Spanish Language Skills and Rating
Today, we're digging into discovering the ways you intend to use Spanish. But first, if you haven't yet, go back to the first post. This step introduces the four language skills and a rating scale for your language experience. Here's the link to the Spanish Study Plan - step one:
Second Part - Dream and Set Skills Goals
Today is a brainstorming session. One where you'll imagine your future self using Spanish in real life. What are you doing? Who are you talking to? Where in the world are you? 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!
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, what will you choose?
- 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
The Spanish Study Plan Guidebook is a download you can print to write down your answers. This can help you remember your purposes and track your progress. Hopefully you've come up with some really great ideas. Download here.
Step 3 - Set Language Skills Goals for Your Dream
Just like we did in step one, your ideas have language skills goals. The dream becomes reality with the same skill rating system. Your language learning plan focuses only on the skills you need to grow to fulfill your dreams. It has your unique combination of skills and level rating.
Choose your focus skills
Every dream purpose has a specific set of skills. Go through your dreams and filter the necessary skills to focus on growing. You may not need every language skill type. There is no reason to work on your oral skills when you only plan on reading books. And vice versa. Some want full fluency, so they will focus on growing every skill.
Rate your future focus skill levels
Last time, you rated your experience level for every skill. This set the starting point for your study plan. This time your going to set the skill level goal for your dream. Only for each of your focus skills, rate how much experience you'll need.
Language Skill Rating Scale
Zero means you have no experience. Struggling means you've begun the learning journey, but still aren't able to communicate effectively. Stretching is when you're skills are turning into real ability to communicate. Ten means your skill ability is perfect.
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.
Your big dream is tied to your specific focus skill goal. Now, you can compare your two skill ratings - current experience and focus skill levels. The gap between the two is the roadmap to reach your language skills goals.
Sample Skill Goals
Many different study plans are beginning to emerge now. Focus skills save time and effort. A sampling of unique dreams many study plan options. Perhaps yours will be similar to one of these set of skill goals.
- Book reader: reading 10
- 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
There is no one size fits all study plan. This dream goal step is essential to focus your effort, and to motivate your progress.