Sometimes we tend to think that we’re not making any progress in our English journeys. We think we need someone to “evaluate” us when in reality it’s totally possible to track our own progress. In this article, we’re going to see some ways to keep track of our own journey.
Inside The Ladies’ Project, we’ve been talking about goal setting and most of us agree that setting goals is actually a goal in itself!
It’s tricky, especially when i comes to languages. One question we had was, “Is it really possible to track our progress in English by ourselves?” In my opinion, it’s possible. Although, I didn’t think it was possible before! I thought I needed someone to tell me whether I’m making progress or not.
Language learning isn’t something you can do in a couple of months. It takes patience, consistency, and dedication. So, I don’t think it’s possible to see your progress in just a few days – especially if you’re at an intermediate or advanced level.
It’s so much easier when you’re a beginner because you learn new basic words and you actually make a few sentences! You can feel the progress you are making because it gives you access to new language and opportunities to use it!
A few years ago, when my English level was lower, I asked a question to one of my TLP teachers; “How can we recognize our progress in English from intermediate to advanced? Because I don’t know if go around in circles or not. I know I made progress from beginner to intermediate but I don’t know whether I’m improving it or not right now.”
And she responded to me: “It is true that it’s easier to see progress when you are moving from a beginner level to an intermediate level than when you are going from an intermediate to an advanced level because the changes are more subtle but it doesn’t mean that they are not there.”
“The thing is that the changes come in different forms. Your comprehension skills (both in listening and reading) start to be more enhanced, your vocabulary is wider, your collocations are more accurate, the use of the grammar is more precise, your writing includes a variety of writing devices, the use of idioms, phrasal verbs, sayings, etc.”
For me, it was difficult to understand the answer back then. I was seriously feeling like I’m going in circles and making no progress. But after a few months had passed, it all started to make sense. I started to notice my progress since the day I asked this question because somehow, I started to understand more of what others say and I felt like I was expressing myself in more complex, interesting ways.
These are not changes you notice day by day, but they are changes you notice month by month, year by year. There are little, everyday moments that you might overlook on your English journey, but those moments are the perfect sign for your improvement.
I vividly remember the day I told a Chinese woman that “I can speak English” for the first time. Until then I used to say “I can speak a little bit, not very well”. Sound familiar? But on that day, I felt that confidence in myself and said, “I can speak English”. It was a really special and important moment for me – a sign of my newfound confidence in my English ability!
Ways to Track Your Progress While Learning A Language.
Record your progress as evidence!
Emma interviewed me in the first months of The Ladies’ Project when we had only known each other for a few months. When I watch that video now, I can see my improvement clearly. I can see the progress that I’ve been making in the background the whole time.
So, one of my suggestions to track your own progress in English is to record a video of yourself speaking aloud. Review these videos and create new ones every 4-5 months.
Don’t expect to see a huge difference just in two months. Language learning requires patience. But over time, you’ll be amazed at the progress you’ve been making! Inside The Ladies’ Project, we take advantage of Deb’s video challenges and do this regularly! She shares them every week.
Keep a diary!
Another thing that I’ve been doing throughout my Spanish language journey is keeping a diary (or daily journal). I regularly write about my challenges or practice what I’ve learned so far. Usually, I don’t worry too much about getting my ideas down perfectly. I just write whatever comes to mind. Then, at a later date I go back over it and try to identify my mistakes and edit my work. and see your mistakes.
It’s thrilling to look back over my progress after several months and notice that even the simplest sentence was once difficult for you. You realise that the challenges that you once faced have been disappearing over time. That your vocabulary is richer and you are writing more complex sentences.
Compare your comprehension over time.
Can you think of an English book or a movie that you tried to enjoy a year ago, but you ended up frustrated because it was too difficult to follow?
Often, we end up trying to forget those memories because we couldn’t understand what was happening or follow the story. But I challenge you to go back and try again after a year and see if you can recognise your progress! You might just surprise yourself.
It’s really motivating to realise how much more you understand (and enjoy!) – it will help you see how far you’ve come!
There are many ways to track your English progress. In fact, I think it’s quite empowering to take responsibility for our learning and understand how far our effort takes us.
So, I’m curious! Do you already do any of these things yourself? Or are you planning to try any of the ideas I shared here?