I love cooking and trying out new recipes. Recently my husband complemented me on a new dish, which was great to hear. On the other hand, I have two young children and didn’t receive a rave review from them. Was the new recipe a good one, even though my kids didn’t like it? Who decides what’s good?

Mixed feedback doesn’t just happen in the kitchen when cooking for disparate groups (adults and kids). It also happens in the classroom and at work. How many times can you recall receiving a paper back with simply the grade, no written comments or detailed suggestions for improvement? Or, perhaps you have received an annual review at work telling you to “improve your English”. Um, how? What kind of English? In what context?

We even give ourselves mixed feedback and negative self-talk in our quest to be better. (i.e. My English is terrible. I will never get this! I just can’t speak the way I want to.)

In the end, you can chase your tail wondering if you’re on the right track, making progress, getting it.

How can you know if your English is good?

We all love positive feedback, right? Let’s try to structure our goals, objectives and targets to give ourselves constructive direction.

  1. Who is setting your language goals? Are your language goals your own? Or, is it your boss deciding what your level must be? Does the school of your choice have a test score which must be met?
  2. What are your language goals? Learning a language is a lifelong process. It helps to have objectives and targets along the way.  Being honest about who is determining your language path will make it easier to decide on those benchmarks. The overall goal might be “to get better,” but you have to decide what “better” means for you in your situation.

One you have answers to points one and two, you can better measure your English and its level. Goal setting is very personal and varies from learner to learner. Here are a couple of paths:

My ultimate goal is to be able to…

  • Attend an English language university
    • Therefore I must score within a certain level on the IELTS, TOEIC or TOEFL…
      • So I must master English grammar exercises…
        • Through targeted writing practice…
  • Converse with ease about everyday topics in a social setting (cocktail parties, dinners)
    • Therefore I must acquire vocabulary related to self, travel, family, hobbies…
      • So I must master expressions that I would encounter in this context…
        • Through targeted conversational practice

Give this type of goal setting a try to reach a good level of English. Need help with your journey or project? Contact me for a free consultation.

What is your recipe for English success?