I have been told that many of Smith’s students are reading these English blog pages recently. This of course makes me very, very happy. Today I have written an article for our students. Of course the suggestions made herein may be of value to all. I hope you enjoy.
As “Coaches of Communicative Confidence” who focus on the English Language in Japan we “English Teachers” at Smith’s School of English(スミス英会話)
must listen to the needs of our students. We care for all of our students and caring means first listening to student needs. There are many reasons students decide to study English. Two that have I have listened to many times recently are 1. To translate English and 2. To improve or progress in English. I am asked everyday how to achieve these ambitions. Here is what I know.
Motivation to study is an important component to achieve both of these goals. Achieving goals builds motivation. Therefore having a clear goal is very important. Those who know me also know I drive my entire life with goals. In both my private and work life I am driven by goals. When I was a younger man I was lucky enough to find a teacher who taught me about setting goals. He said that the way most people set goals would often lead to disappointment because they usually set impossible dreams as goals and then fail to achieve those goals. Failure to achieve goals destroys motivation and so such goals are bad. At that time I was guilty of setting impossible goals. Actually at work my boss was guilty of giving me impossible goals! My goals were more like unknown challenges and I often failed to achieve them. My goals usually said to me “Hey Mark nice goals, you will never achieve that but hey try anyway” My teacher called these “Pre-failure Goals” An example of such a goal in my own Japanese language study was “To learn 365 new Japanese words in 1999” My teacher explained goals MUST be achievable and short term. I cannot be sure I will remember all 365 words and one year, my goodness who knows what can happen in a year. My teacher told me most people’s goals are too long. He said make them shorter and check yourself more often. In the beginning make the goals as short as you can and be sure you can measure the results.
I was a bit confused and so asked if 365 words in one year is not correct what is? He asked me “what do you think you can do for sure that will help you learn 365 words in a year, not maybe, not I hope to but 100% for sure?” I knew I could give 30 minutes a day to this project so a answered “to study 30 minutes every day would be good for my goal” He became excited and told me that was great but still too ambitious. So please set a new goal and take care with the time line because one year is a long time. He said my new goal should be “To study new Japanese words for 20 minutes (not 30) a day every second day for one week” He said to keep a little diary to note my study times and check my goals at the end of the week. This would be my new S.T.A.G (Short Term Achievable Goal)
I set that STAG and achieved it. In fact I remember in the first week I did much more. But gradually as the week went past that goals became more difficult. But every week I did achieve that simple goal. I felt good. I did gradually lift the time and days until one day I found I was doing too much and so adjusted my STAG back to achievable levels. I am still setting achievable goals for my own Japanese study. English Translation of English progress can be built on the same simple rules.
I promise you as students wanting to Progress English or Translate English STAGs are your best friend. For example for Smith’s students wishing to progress English. Here is a STAG. “Check the free on line lesson next Sunday night and prepare ONE sample sentence for my teacher” Everyone can do this. Here is another STAG .” To sit down for 3 minutes before I eat my lunch on 2 days next week and read / repeat 3 words or sentences from my last English lesson 10 times. Then enjoy my lunch.” Everyone can do this.
What can help your English Progress (英会話 上達) or beef up your English Translation(英語訳) ? Easy S.T.A.Gs and a good English School(英語学校).