We’ve all been there; learning a new language can be frustrating and overwhelming. You will discover a whole new set of rules that may not make any sense. You will come across words that would seem so weird that you won’t believe they even exist.
Moreover, the task of learning a new language can seem even more intimidating if the language you’re learning is nothing like your native language. For instance, if a native English speaker decides to learn Hebrew, they’ll face a lot of hurdles.
Firstly, English is written and read left to right whereas Hebrew is a right to left language.
Secondly, Hebrew, being an ancient language, has a set of rules that can be difficult to follow. Of course, Modern Hebrew has seen a lot of innovations to help the language cope with the linguistic needs of modern times.
Nevertheless, many studies have recommended learning a new language. According to The Economist, English speakers should learn foreign languages for a multitude of reasons. Just because a language seems intimidating at first shouldn’t discourage you from learning it.
In fact, you should start by setting achievable goals to make the language acquisition process easier. So, why is it important to set language learning goals? Let’s take a look!
Why You Should Set Language Learning Goals
At this point, setting goals may not sound anything more than a cliché and we can’t blame you for that. We’ve heard so much about goals from our teachers to our bosses, that setting goals may seem like a thing easier said than done.
However, hear us out when we tell you that there’s merit to the whole idea of setting goals. Research shows that those who are able to set goals are more likely to be successful at whatever they’re trying to achieve.
It’s simple but it works, and setting goals can help you be successful because of the following reasons:
Goal Setting: Identification of Your Target
Goal setting is an effective habit because it helps you identify what exactly it is that you want to achieve. Everyone’s definition of success is different.
If you say you want to learn a language, that’s a very vague goal. Do you want to become an expert in the language or do you want to be able to order coffee? Setting goals will help you identify what you want to achieve so you can begin working towards achieving it.
In short, it helps you describe what exactly fluency in a language is for you.
Goal Setting: Focusing on Important Stuff
Learning a new language can be overwhelming because there’s simply so much ground to cover. Take Hebrew for instance. When you start learning Hebrew, you’ll have to cover Hebrew writing, reading Hebrew text, as well as Hebrew speech.
However, setting goals will help you focus on important points so you don’t feel distracted and overwhelmed by trying to cover too much ground at once. Moreover, goal setting helps you ignore what’s not important (or not as important as other stuff).
Goal Setting: Time Saving
Goal setting also helps you save time as you’re not trying to memorize every word in the dictionary but focusing on vocabulary that you will be using regularly. Spending your time effectively is key to learning a new language and goal setting helps you do just that.
For instance, if you’re learning Hebrew only to visit Israel, your focus will be on words and phrases that will help you with basic communication. However, if you’re planning to immigrate and work in Israel, your approach will be quite different.
Goal Setting: Measuring Progress
Goal setting allows you to measure your progress which further increases your motivation to learn. Learning a new language can take a long time and it will feel frustrating if you can’t measure your progress.
However, setting goals (realistic ones) will help you measure your progress as you meet these goals and see your efforts paying off. Now, as we said, your goals should be realistic so how exactly can you identify your language acquisition goals? Let’s take a look!
How to Identify Your Language Learning Goals
Identifying your language learning goals starts with figuring out why exactly you are studying this new language. This begins by thinking about the big picture questions such as “Why do I want to be fluent in this language?” or “What will I do once I can speak this language fluently?”
The answer you get to these questions will serve as your “ultimate goal” i.e. your reason to spend your money, time, and energy to learn the language. It’s perfectly fine if the ultimate goal seems vague, huge, and multi-faceted.
At this point, you’re only focusing on identifying the important steps you need to take to achieve this ultimate goal. For example, your ultimate goal and the steps required to achieve it should look like this:
“I want to be able to communicate with Hebrew-speaking Israelis to make my immigration process easier.”
- Learning common-use vocabularies such as greetings and common phrases,
- Learning how to read Hebrew,
- Learning how to write Hebrew script,
- Learning how to listen and respond to Hebrew,
- Learning new vocabulary to become fluent in Hebrew.
Now that we know your ultimate goal and what you need to do in order to achieve it, let’s look at how you can set effective language learning goals!
Setting Effective Language Learning Goals
Research shows that goal-setting works best if the goals are short-term, specific, and moderately challenging. Setting effective language learning goals will require you to prioritize the steps you have identified. Once you do that, you can start generating your short-term goals.
Follow these simple yet effective tips when setting your language learning goals:
- Writing your goals down. Writing your goals down will make it easier for you to remember them and revisit them if needed.
- Setting deadlines. These deadlines can be from one week or a few months, depending on how much time you’ll be investing in learning the language. However, regardless of the time between deadlines, it’s important you set them.
- Focus on tangible tasks. Instead of deciding how much time you will devote to studying, set your goals by focusing on tangible tasks. For instance, don’t set the goal of studying 30 minutes or 1 hour a day. Instead, set the goal of memorizing a basic set of words. Focusing on tangible tasks will improve your progress and help you track it better.
- Identify specific things to learn. Your ultimate goal may have been a bit vague but your language learning goals should be as specific as they can. Whether it’s practicing your Hebrew speech or memorizing new words, aim for specific outcomes that you need to achieve.
- Challenge yourself, but don’t be too harsh. When it comes to setting goals, it’s important to challenge yourself. However, don’t push yourself too hard. Understand that learning a new language is a time-intensive process and it’s okay to fall short sometimes.
- Focus on optimistic words. When writing down your goals, do so in a way that makes them feel achievable. For instance, you can write, “By this [specific time], I will achieve this [specific goal].”
Why It’s Important You Follow Through
These tips will help you set effective and achievable language learning goals, however, we also have to emphasize the importance of following through. Goal setting is important but it’s not something you do once and then forget all about.
Your language learning goals will only be effective if you’re regularly consulting them and setting new goals as you progress. Review your goals after every few days and keep track of your progress.
This will help you identify what to study next. Goal setting and following through becomes even more crucial in some specific circumstances. For instance, you want to learn Hebrew and you’re taking an interactive digital self-study course. In such a situation, you will decide your own pace and will be responsible for tracking your own progress.
In conclusion, learning a new language doesn’t need to be a sprint. You can take the marathon approach as well and you’ll find plenty of interactive eBooks and self-study material if you want to learn the language at your own customized pace.
Lack the Discipline for Self-Study? Enroll in Ulpan-Or’s Online Learning Programs
At Ulpan-Or, we understand that self-study is not for everyone. Even if you have the discipline, it’s not always possible to make time as other commitments can get in the way. However, if you’re enrolled in a language learning program, you don’t have to worry about setting goals and meeting deadlines all by yourself.
Instead, you can get the guidance and instruction of professional speakers to help you learn Hebrew online. Ulpan-Or offers numerous online learning programs for you to pick from. For example, Ulpan-Or offers The Golden Hebrew program which is an online Hebrew program for seniors.
You can also check out the Guided Distance Learning program which can be short-term or long-term as per your convenience. You can pick from one, three, six, and twelve-month modules and join the thousands of students already enrolled in the program.
At Ulpan-Or, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time for many people around the world including the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia. In such a time, you can take advantage of your free time during lockdown to learn Hebrew online.
Our Rapid Online Quarantine Immersion Hebrew program is perfect if you want to make the most of your time. In conclusion, learning a new language like Hebrew is not as difficult as it seems and with Ulpan-Or, it becomes a whole lot easier!