Strategies to Monitor Your Progress in the Four Language Skills
The following questions are a starting point to begin to monitor your learning progress.
Take 2 or 3 minutes to think about them.
1) How much time do you practise per day/per week?
2) Do you participate actively during synchronous / asynchronus online classes, i.e. asking/ replying to questions?
3) Do you push your skills beyond your comfort zone by trying to use new language structures or vocabulary you learned?
4) Do you take notes during synchronous/asynchronus online classes?
5) Do you learn from your mistakes?
After answering these questions, depending on the skill(s) you wish to focus on, you can track your progress by asking yourself and reflecting on the following points:
READING / VOCABULARY
- How many new words do you learn per week/month?
- How well do you understand when reading a text? – Are you able to grasp the overall meaning of the text (even if you don’t know all the words)? Would you be able to make an oral summary of the text? Are you able to recognise the language structures you are already familiar with and explain why they have been used?
ORAL COMPREHENSION (LISTENING)
- How well are you able to understand when listening?
- What language elements prevent you from understanding? New words a particular accent, speed, other…
ORAL PRODUCTION (SPEAKING)
- How spontaneous and comfortable are you in conversing in the language?
- Are you able to use the structures you have studied to write a brand-new text in the language without recourse to automatic translation tools like Google Translate?
And now it’s time to act!
What can you do to stay on track and improve your skills?
READING/ VOCABULARY: maintain lists of words you know, then while progressing divide the words by field, category, etc.
ORAL COMPREHENSION (LISTENING): watch films/tv series with subtitles in the target language. After some time watch the same film again without subtitles and see if your comprehension has improved. Listen to songs and try to catch as many words as you can, listen to them again and see if you recognise more words or entire lines.
ORAL PRODUCTION (SPEAKING): record yourself speaking the target language (while reading a text, making a presentation or just conversing) and compare present and past recordings. Make recordings at regular intervals (every month, for example) so that you can really see the difference. Focus on both the pronunciation of words and the intonation of sentences. If working on video tasks, rehearse as many times as you need until you are happy with the result! Also, make the most of collaborative opportunities online. Share your recordings with with your classmates, comment on their work and listen to their feedback.
WRITING: write often and reflect on your teacher’s feedback. Always write directly in the target language, do not write in your mother tongue first and then translate into your target language. For some more useful writing tips, review Unit 3 of this module.