Are you looking for the perfect method to learn French fast? Unfortunately, there isn’t any secret technique to magically learn a new language. But you can make the most of existing methods in order to study better! Did you try the S.M.A.R.T method, generally used in project management? Well, it’s also great for language learning…
There are many ways to learn a language. That’s what makes this journey exciting. Some people thrive on online exercises, while others need to watch movies and speak with native people. The point is: the perfect language learning method doesn’t exist. You need to discover what type of learner you are, and go from there.
But if you need a method to keep motivated during your French learning journey, you might want to use the S.M.A.R.T method (or SMART method).
What is the S.M.A.R.T method?
The S.M.A.R.T method is an acronym for setting objectives in project management or personal development. The first-known use of the term was in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, by George T. Doran. Since then, most of the objectives have been changed and adapted according to the needs of the people recommending the S.M.A.R.T method.
Originally, this SMART method is based on:
Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
Measurable – suggest an indicator of progress.
Assignable – specify who will do it.
Realistic – state what results can really be achieved, given available resources.
Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
Throughout the years, other authors or management gurus have changed some of the objectives assigned to these letters. But it is still usable during a language learning journey!
How to learn French with the S.M.A.R.T method?
The S.M.A.R.T method will not tell you what to learn or in which order. This method is better used as a motivation tool. Learning French can be quite intimidating, especially when you don’t know where to begin or what rhythm you should keep. With the SMART method, you can set precise and realisable goals in order to put a study schedule in place.
For what stands the S.M.A.R.T method when it’s used for language learning? Well, it’s not very different from the original acronym.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic or relevant
T – Time-related
Set specific goals
You might hear students say that they want to be fluent in 6 months. But what is fluency? How do you measure it? Some people have been studying a foreign language for years and still don’t judge that they’re fluent. If you want to set yourself some goals, don’t forget to be more specific:
- I want to be able to have basic conversations with French people when I travel
- I want to read my favorite French authors in their native language
- I want to be able to pass the OQLF French exam
Think about measurable objectives
If you want to stay motivated, you should write down some short-term and measurable goals. For example, during a week, you might want to learn 50 new words on Babbel and learn a new grammar rule. In one month, you want to be able to introduce yourself and ask specific (but simple) questions in French.
Be sure to have attainable objectives
Again, it’s all about your goals. What if you decide to learn 100 new words per day? Yes, it’s doable, but is it really worth the effort? If you decide on difficult goals right away, you risk losing your motivation. Think long and hard about attainable objectives. And you know what, if in the end, you go above and beyond what you decided, feel free to adapt your future goals!
Stick to relevant objectives
If your goal is to travel to francophone countries, why would you learn marketing vocabulary? And if you want to go live in a French-speaking country, do you think one lesson per week would be enough to learn the language? Choose goals that are relevant for your situation.
Keep a schedule with timely goals
Finally, don’t forget that in order to have regularity in your language learning, it’s best to set timely goals. If you decide to learn only 50 words in two weeks, you might work hard for the first two days, and then figure out that you have plenty of time to finish your task. So don’t be surprised if after one month of learning French, you didn’t make any progress. To stay on track, think about a weekly schedule that would work for you.
So, what do you think about the S.M.A.R.T method? Do you think it might be helpful for you? Like we said, it isn’t a method designed to help you learn vocabulary faster or overtake your fear of speaking French in public. It’s more about being aware of your goals in order to be held accountable for your progress. If you need to stick to a schedule but are afraid to tackle too little or too much, try to learn French with the S.M.A.R.T method. And don’t forget that everybody’s learning journey is different, even if we all do the same things when first learning a language…