Measuring your progress in a non-academic, Spanish conversation class is sometimes a challenge. We don’t have grades or tests, so many people gauge their progress by their level. This is not a good idea, because the higher the level, the longer it takes to move up. And many students never make it past a mid to high intermediate level, due to the demands of achieving an advanced or bilingual level of Spanish (basically living a portion of your life in Spanish).
As human beings though, we want to know that we are progressing. If we feel like we’re not, we tend to lose our motivation. So how do we do this? The easiest way takes a little time, but it is very effective.
First you need to put yourself in a situation that you may only be in every 6 months to a year. For example, maybe once a year you travel to a Spanish speaking country, or twice a year you visit your in-laws in Mexico, etc. The first time that you go, keep a journal (or a voice memo on your phone). Note how easy/hard it was to understand, to speak, how much vocabulary you had or were missing, how easily others understood you, etc. If there is anything in particular that was very challenging, make a note of it. Then hold on to that note or voice memo like a time capsule and do the same thing 6 – 12 months later. You will be amazed at your progress!
So what I’m basically saying is that being mindful of your progress is the best way to measure it when it comes to your communication skills 🙂 You ARE improving, you just may not be aware of it!