Clear the List – Language Goals January 20

Happy New Year Everyone! While I don't set resolutions, I do set language goals. And here are my plans to make 2020 the best language learning year yet!

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Happy New Year Everyone! I’m back and ready to kick off the year by setting my language goals for the first month of 2020. Over the Christmas holidays I decided to take a little digital detox. A social media siesta… if you will. Which is why I am setting my goals almost a week after the start of the year. The first full week in January is now the start of my year. So, let’s get cracking!

As always, I will be setting my language goals as part of Clear the List. A community hosted by Lindsay from Lindsay does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste. Sharing our goals and supporting each other on the journey to fluency. If you love languages you should definitely give it a try. You won’t regret it!

Want to practice your target language more in 2020?

(and the chance to win a lovely stationary haul this month?)

Then get involved with the Language Diary Challenge. A monthly challenge that I host on Facebook and Instagram. We share our progress, get support from other learners and make friends. It’s a great way of staying accountable and having a great time using your language. Best of all there is a monthly prize just for taking part. Amazing, right?!

Sounds great! How do I get involved?

On Facebook, you simply join the Language Diary Challenge Group and post something in your target language.
On Instagram you post something using #languagediarychallenge and tagging @discover_fluency and @languagediarychallenge. That way I can find your great work and share it on the challenge page so other learners can find you too.

What can I post?

Anything! A picture, a video or even just a couple of words about any subject you like. What you have learnt that day, your favourite TV show or what you are having for dinner. Anything goes!

Can I take part if I’m a complete beginner?

Absolutely! You can write single words or basic sentences – everything counts.⁠

Can I write in more than one language?

Yep, it’s totally up to you which/how many languages you choose.⁠

What happens if I miss a day?

No worries! It’s fine to miss the odd day as long as you do as many as you can.
Check out Instagram for more details about the challenge and the amazing prize for January. Or ask any questions in the comments below.

But before we shake off the winter bulking and think about the new language filled year, let’s look back at 2019.

2019 summary

End of the year can only mean two things. Christmas and reviewing language goals.

Last year was one of the craziest, busiest and happiest of my life. I got married. Had a two week honeymoon in Italy with a car crash to boot. Relaunched Discover Fluency. Taught a huge amount of English lessons and generally worked very hard.

My first language goal of the year was to prepare for my honeymoon. So, I felt confident when we were travelling to speak to everyone. Which I did! Woo! Managing to organise everything after a car crash entirely in Italian fits that description, don’t you think?

After a well deserved summer break to focus on my business, I was back to languages in September. It felt like going back to school except that I actually wanted to be there. I’d originally planned to take the CILS C1 exam in December but I soon realised that wasn’t realistic. So, I adjusted my goals (as we all have to do sometimes) and decided to improve my level as much as possible instead. Building positive habits, regular study routines and increased practice.

Just before Christmas I had my final Italian lesson of the year. I thought that was a great time to review my progress with my tutor and make a plan for this year. I was very pleased to find that we both agreed I had made a lot of progress and I was well on the way to passing the C1 exam in June. Potentially even the C2 if I work hard and plan well. Meraviglioso!

2020 plan

From my year review lesson, we identified two main areas to work on before the exam; grammar and complex vocabulary and structures.

As a self directed learner, I can choose exactly what I want to study. Which means I can focus on what I like and avoid the “boring” stuff. Naturally this means that I may miss things along the way that traditional courses would have covered. I.e the grammar. While I have picked up a huge amount from use, which I personally think is a better approach, there are some gaps.

That’s why we are going back to basics. Working through a grammar book from A1 to C2. To reinforce the basics I already know and find the bits I am missing. Filling them in with the correction information. Also giving me more confidence with the basics. I often have doubts about simple stuff because I don’t use it enough and I want to feel more comfortable with that this year.

The second step will be to increase the complexity of our discussions and the content I am using. That way I am finding new, and more difficult, structures in the articles and videos I am watching, which I can replicate in our lessons. Writing summaries of articles or debating topics from TED talks. Something to push myself to the next level.

January Language Goals

My beautiful new bilingual calendar I will be using to track my language goals

As always, the final step is to break it down. Those bite size language goals that make it all seem possible. For this I am going to focus on the first half of the year before the exam. Specifically until April when I will need to take the plunge and book it… Arggh! Scary times!
That’s why the main focus this month is going to be increasing my active study time. My exposure to Italian is great. I am reading and watching stuff everyday without fail. But it’s mainly passive. So, I want to carve out some time to do the more detailed work that’s needed. My “study sessions” will cover the more complex ideas that I skip over in the passive activities I do.
And here’s how I plan to achieve it:

  1. Lessons 2 per week. – Going from 1 to 2 hours a week will help boost my speaking skills and force me to work more regularly. As I always prepare for every lesson to get the most out of my time and money.
  2. 1 grammar study session – Sitting down to do a chapter of the grammar book or reviewing the past chapter that has been corrected. To keep building that grammar confidence.
  3. 1 complex study session. – Writing summaries, reviewing videos and generally doing some more detailed study.
  4. Watch some full TV series instead of YouTube. – I signed back up to Netflix so I can binge some more TV. YouTube is great but the videos are very short and they are all quite samey. So, getting into a TV series with longer episode and more complex vocabulary will be better.

And there you have it. My “master” plan for finally reaching the advanced level in Italian this year. So, what are your language goals for this year? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time!

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