A few years a go, with the best of intentions, I wrote a blog post on goal setting in the world language classroom. I focused on setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. My experience with proficiency-based language teaching has given me an entirely new prospective on what goal setting should look like in the world language classroom.
ACTFL published Can-DO Statements that help students and teachers benchmark progress on the proficiency scale from novice to superior. These statements are a great way for students to set manageable, specific, concrete and achievement goals. The first step is to determine where a student is on the scale and then to make goals to reach the next proficiency level. The Can-Do Statements for one level up from the student’s current level are very specific SMART goals for an individual student. For a Novice High student with the goal of moving up to Intermediate Low, the goal can go from “I want to speak better” to:
- I can talk with someone about family or household tasks.
- I can talk with someone about hobbies and interests.
- I can talk with someone about school or work.
- I can ask and answer questions related to subjects such as geography, history, art, music, math, science, language, or literature.
- I can ask for help at school, work, or in the community.
- I can make a reservation.
- I can arrange for transportation, such as by train, bus, taxi, or a ride with friends.
I have put together a set of goal setting sheets based on setting SMART goals as well as proficiency goals. You can access it here.