Language in Bloom

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Language Coach Responsibility #1: Motivation

The very first responsibility of a language coach is motivation. Not just motivation to learn a language—I’m assuming you already have that. I’m talking about motivation to create and stick to your very own communicative goals.

That doesn’t mean going through the motions and completing all activities in a new textbook or online program you have.

What this means is that in order to really achieve meaningful progress for you, the one actually learning the language, you need to always be thinking about concrete objectives that are actually motivating, realistic, and measurable. It’s not always easy to think about what those could be, especially if you are new at learning languages, but that’s what I’m here for.

First things first: What the heck is a communicative goal?

To put it simply, it’s a learning objective that focuses on the ability to communicate effectively. Since language learning is all about communication, your overall goals should be about communicating, not x grammar topic or y vocabulary list. Grammar and vocabulary are the tools you need to communicate, but they aren’t the end all be all of language learning.

Here is an example of a communicative goal:

“I want to be able to greet someone I do not know.”

And an example of a non-communicative goal:

“I want to learn greetings.”

Do you see the difference? In order to achieve both goals, you’ll have to learn standard greetings in your target language, but with the communicative goal the emphasis is on using those greetings in context with an actual person. What’s the point of memorizing a bunch of greetings if you’re not quite certain of the appropriate order of sayings, or whether terms that you’re learning are used in authentic situations?

The sooner you start thinking of your language learning journey in communicative goals, the sooner you’ll make real progress to actually speaking to real people.

Not sure whether your goals are communicative? Fill out the form and I’ll give you some feedback.


Written by

Tammy Bjelland
Language lover, teacher & coach.

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