ESL COUNTDOWN TO 2016! Strategic Review No. 1: What constraints and remedies do I need to consider?

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This is the final countdown post concerning the review of your English right now and how you plan to improve it in 2016. So let’s take out our notes from last time and take a look at what we have created so far:

e.g.

  1. Confidence in speaking English (4/10)

Benchmark: By the end of 2016 I would like to be able to give presentations at university in English with confidence.

Measurement: Ask my lecturer at university after I have given the presentation, not only how good was the presentation but how was the ‘English delivery’. Ask them to give you some kind of feedback also.

Implementation strategy: Take at least two courses through the year on how to give a presentation, and make sure that any points to improve on are looked at and adhered to if necessary. Always ask for feedback and don’t be afraid to swallow your pride if you were not as good as you thought you were.

 

  1. Confidence in reading English (3/10)

Benchmark: By the end of 2016 I would like to be able to read an adult novel in English.

Measurement: Complete a novel of choice (a minimum of 200 pages)

Implementation strategy: Over the year give yourself at least one book every three months to read. Make the first one only 80 pages, the second one 120 pages, the third one 175 pages and the last one 200 pages. The last one will be your benchmark book. Pace yourself and try to (if necessary) read a certain amount of pages per week. This will definitely get you into the habit of reading and reading well. Also keep a dictionary on hand in case you don’t understand some phrases or words.

 

  1. Confidence in writing English (4/10)

Benchmark: By the end of 2016 I would like to be able to write close to error-free essays for my university course.

Measurement: Ask my lecturer at university to let me know at the end of the year not only the quality of the comments made in the essay, but also the quality of the English. How error-free would he/she consider it to be. Ask for a % point. E.g. 90% error-free.

Implementation Strategy: take a course at least twice during the year on academic writing, and listen to and try to integrate what you learn into your everyday studies at university. This will help you reach your goal, so long as your teacher at university can also give you some feedback. But remember your university teacher may not be an English teacher, they may be an engineering lecturer, so they don’t necessarily know how to help you, but they could give you some kind of feedback of success.

You have successfully identified three areas to work on, what you would consider to be some action that will identify your improvement, how you will measure it and finally how you would go about making this happen. There is however one final and important point to consider. This is the other important critical areas to make sure you are able to meet your target e.g. financial, social, physical and environmental constraints. The constraints that you will have will be completely based on your own circumstances and will need to be addressed early on so that you can make sure you are going to remain on track to reach your goal.

So let’s have a look at the kinds of constraints this example may have and how you are going to overcome them:

  1. Confidence in speaking English (4/10)

Benchmark: By the end of 2016 I would like to be able to give presentations at university in English with confidence.

Measurement: Ask my lecturer at university after I have given the presentation, not only how good was the presentation but how was the ‘English delivery’. Ask them to give you some kind of feedback also.

Implementation strategy: Take at least two courses through the year on how to give a presentation, and make sure that any points to improve on are looked at and adhered to if necessary. Always ask for feedback and don’t be afraid to swallow your pride if you were not as good as you thought you were.

Constraints and remedies: Find out the cost of the courses and make sure I have the money either from taking on a part time job or getting a loan.

 

  1. Confidence in reading English (3/10)

Benchmark: By the end of 2016 I would like to be able to read an adult novel in English.

Measurement: Complete a novel of choice (a minimum of 200 pages)

Implementation strategy: Over the year give yourself at least one book every three months to read. Make the first one only 80 pages, the second one 120 pages, the third one 175 pages and the last one 200 pages. The last one will be your benchmark book. Pace yourself and try to (if necessary) read a certain amount of pages per week. This will definitely get you into the habit of reading and reading well. Also keep a dictionary on hand in case you don’t understand some phrases or words.

Constraints and remedies: There are no bookshops in my area. I need to subscribe to an online book club in order to make sure I can download some reading material on a regular basis that I’d enjoy reading and that is affordable for me.

 

  1. Confidence in writing English (4/10)

Benchmark: By the end of 2016 I would like to be able to write close to error-free essays for my university course.

Measurement: Ask my lecturer at university to let me know at the end of the year not only the quality of the comments made in the essay, but also the quality of the English. How error-free would he/she consider it to be. Ask for a % point. E.g. 90% error-free.

Implementation Strategy: take a course at least twice during the year on academic writing, and listen to and try to integrate what you learn into your everyday studies at university. This will help you reach your goal, so long as your teacher at university can also give you some feedback. But remember your university teacher may not be an English teacher, they may be an engineering lecturer, so they don’t necessarily know how to help you, but they could give you some kind of feedback of success.

Constraints and remedies: Ensure that there are good affordable academic writing courses in my area. If no consider an online writing course or taking a weekend course in another city.

Congratulations, now you have managed to review your status of English ability successfully and you are now going to be able to put together your plan of action. Just having a new years’ resolution to improve your English really isn’t enough, you do need a serious plan to follow.

The final post in this will be your resolutions. Looking forward to hearing from you on how your list developed.

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