SMART Spanish Goals that Work

SMART Goals for Spanish Learners

Do you know what makes a Spanish goal SMART? It’s not a play on words. A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.SMART Spanish goals help students reach proficiency. Let’s take a look at the ways a goal can be SMART.

Using Specific Goal Criteria

Specific goals are ones that focus on a single area to improve or master. If the goal is to learn Spanish, that is not specific enough. The reason that general goals don’t work is because they’re not ones that can be achieved in a reasonable amount of time.

Someone who wants to learn Spanish, is usually not prepared for it to take up to 7 years. You’d have to have a superhuman strength in terms of motivation in order to complete that goal without having many mini-goals along the way.

Instead of saying that you want to learn Spanish… a better SMART goal would be that I want to improve my conversational skills, learn the imperfect tense, or to add 200 high-use words to my everyday vocabulary. 



How to Measure Spanish Goals

And that brings us to our next point, if the goal is measurable or not. You want a goal to be specific because is because it’s easier to measure. There are many ways that you can assess if a goal has been completed or not.

Some of my go-to measuring strategies include:

  • Taking audios during the class so we can compare the first class to one down the line.
  • Having pre and post assessments to determine growth.
  • Keeping a log of new vocabulary words.
  • Using APPS like FlipGrid to easily present student performance by video over a time period.
  • Comparing writing samples before and after.
  • Portfolio assessments which include a variety of work samples.

Attainable SMART Goals

Then, the next point is that the Spanish goal must be attainable. Is it something that can actually be attained in the amount of time that you have decided? Something like learning Spanish is not attainable in a 2 to 3 month period. That sets it up for a student to feel like they’ve been a failure… and they lose motivation along the way.

Making Sure the Mini-Goal is Relevant

The next part is about being relevant. Your mini-goals should all be little steps along the way to obtaining a larger goal. For example, my main goal is to learn conversational Spanish because I’m a retiree moving to a Spanish-speaking country.

Therefore, having mini-goals along the way focused on grammar exercises and topics like summer camp, the classroom, I’m going off to college, etc., are not going to help me. Instead, it would be better for me to focus on every day activities like going to the grocery store, ordering food in a restaurant, purchasing an airline ticket etc., that are going to prepare me.

Time-Bound Goals Keep Students on Track

The last one is that a goal is time-bound. Because students cannot take lessons aimlessly for the rest of their lives. It’s not successful.

But if you have some type of time limit on your goal. This can be 1 to 2 months, it’s going to be motivational for the student. It is important that the time limit on your Spanish goal is not too far into the future. Nor should it be too close. Because that would not be attainable. Instead something that covers 10 to 15 classes, is reasonable.


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About the Author

teacher sara tyler viva online spanish language classes

Sara Tyler has 2 M.A. degrees, in Educational Technology and Curriculum and Instruction. Her B.A. degree is in ESL. She has worked online since 2014, and has taught languages since 2010. She lives in Veracruz, Mexico with her husband and 2 daughters.


Online Spanish Classes Frequently Asked Questions

#1 HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BECOME FLUENT?

It depends on how often you take classes, your independent study habits and exposure to Spanish in real life. However, Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers.

#2 DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COMPUTERS?

You only need to know how to access your email, where you will receive a link for your classes. Therefore, you only need access to email on any device.

#3 IS IT BETTER TO LEARN WITH A NATIVE SPEAKER?

No, you should look for an experienced and qualified teacher for classes. Native speakers usually cannot explain the grammar of their own languages. For example, think about English. Can you explain when when to use the first conditional and when to use the second? Probably not. And that’s normal. Native speakers use language intuitively, while teachers have studied it.

#4 I HAVE TAKEN SPANISH CLASSES BEFORE, BUT I CAN´T SPEAK IT. HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY SPEAKING?

You need to have meaningful interactions in Spanish. Ideally, you will engage in activities that promote communication in the target language. As a result, you will improve your speaking and listening skills in every class.

#5 I NEED SPANISH FOR TRAVEL/WORK ASAP! IS THAT POSSIBLE? Yes! If you are using a practice-based approach, listening and speaking from the first class and intensive schedules are available. Basic conversational skills can be developed within a few classes.


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