Why are you learning English?

Ask five different English language learners why they are studying English and you’ll probably get five different answers. Everyone has their own motivations for learning another language and over many years of teaching I’ve had students give me a wide variety of reasons including:

  • I want a better job
  • I would like to live abroad
  • I need to improve my chances of promotion
  • I want a university place at (?)
  • Because everyone uses English now
  • employers expect you to have good English
  • I had no choice but to learn English after fleeing my country
  • If you want to really engage with the Internet, you need English
  • Because I enjoy languages
  • English is a major world language
  • Because my husband/wife/partner is from (?) so I need to improve
  • I want to be able to help my children more with their school work
  • I run a business and need to communicate with people around the world

This is just a small selection of answers but I think you can get the picture that not everyone is learning for quite the same reasons.

So what are your English goals?

When was the last time you thought about why YOU are learning English? Why YOU are going to language classes and/or sifting through the Internet looking for English lessons? Why YOU are doing English language worksheets hour after hour? Same reasons as those above, or for different ones?


Take a minute now and think very carefully about this. I thought about this same process (only for Spanish not English) because I was finding myself in a slump, a dip, or some say a plateau. Nothing I did seemed to be moving my Spanish on. I didn’t feel as if I was going forwards.

Set small, achievable targets

Then I said to myself one day, you need smaller, achievable goals. Stop trying to imagine you’ll be reading the entire collection of Shakespeare in Spanish in a year. Bite off smaller chunks. So I did.

It worked. I started setting mini-goals a few months ago and it does work. I feel I have moved my Spanish along more in the last few months than I had in the last year. I set myself achievable mini-targets such as:

  • week 1 I will work on present tenses (in a variety of ways)
  • week 2 I’ll cover past tenses (again in various ways)
  • week 3 I’ll go over future tenses
  • week 4 watch Spanish films without subtitles to revise/test the past month’s work
  • Then the goals change for the following month to reading goals or speaking goals because I have to let you in on a secret… I get bored VERY easily! So I occasionally need to shake things up a bit for myself. Maybe you need to do that too?

That’s what I have done for the past couple of months and it really has made a huge difference.

Shake things up!

To shake things up = idiom

synonymous terms = reorganise, stir up, purge, break with past, fresh start

To conclude

  1. Decide WHY you are learning English? What is motivating your pursuit of the language?
  2. What mini goals can you set for yourself now? Week 1 = ? Week 2 = ?

Once you have worked on your mini-targets for a period of time and feel you are achieving again, you’ll be ready to think about some longer term language targets. My personal mini-goals for Spanish are in place to let me realise a longer term vision I have of moving back to Latin America to live/work in about a year’s time.

I’d love to hear about some of your reasons for learning English as well as any longer term goals/plans you hope to achieve. Why not drop me a comment?

If you've any feedback on this post, please let me know and I will get back to you asap.

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