How to set effective language learning goals

Lesson plan overview

This free ESL worksheet is perfect to be used as the first lesson of a language course as it will help your students set their goals and create a curriculum according to their needs. Students learn how to set effective language learning goals, collocations and vocabulary with the word “goal” and set their own English learning goals. Other related lesson are “End of the year reflection“, “Idioms: New Year“, where the topic of New Year’s resolutions is discussed and “Idioms: goals”.
The lesson begins with an initial discussion on language ability and ways to learn a language. Students discuss the questions given.
After that, students write their language learning goals.
Collocations: Students learn verb+noun collocations with the word goal by choosing the incorrect alternative in each sentence. To practise, they complete a few sentences with their personal opinion and experiences.
Listening: Students watch a video “How to set SMART language learning goals” and complete 2 note-taking activities.
With their newly-acquired knowledge about goal-setting, students look at a few examples of poor language learning goals and discuss what is wrong about each one and how to improve it.
In the last activity, students write and edit the goals they have mentioned earlier, this time using the SMART goal-setting framework.
The lesson concludes with time for reflection on the new vocabulary and error correction.
Homework: 3 research topics are given to help reinforce the target vocabulary from this lesson.
Students can also practise with the additional articles and videos provided on

Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

1. crucial 2. perseverance 3.failure 4.guarantee 5.habit

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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