Section 1: An Introduction to Self-Access Listening and Speaking Materials:

Activity 3: Developing a Journal
to Record and Monitor your Progress

All levels
Recording and monitoring your progress

To create ways of keeping track of your progress toward your goals

Journal or notebook
30 minutes


You are almost on your way! Now you know what you want to work on, your strengths and weaknesses, and how much time you are willing to spend on reaching your goals. All you need to do is prepare a way to chart your progress. A simple journal is probably the easiest, and most effective, way to keep track of your improvement.

Many of the listening activities in this self-access center will ask you to use your journal to keep track of your progress, or to write about what you have learned.

There are two ways in which these journals can be effective. First, reflecting on any activity enhances what you are able to learn, and journals can help to guide your reflection. Second, you can chart where your problems and strengths were, and then do the same activity again at a later date, and compare how you did the second time to how you did the first time.

Click here to download a set of questions that you can use to help set up your journal.

In addition to using your journal for the self-access activities on this website, we also recommend that you sometimes use a journal to help you learn from other experiences that involve listening and speaking in English. Here are some examples of common listening and speaking situations that you may encounter.

Situations involving listening
Situations involving speaking


  • Listening to conference seminar or academic talk
  • Listening to lectures
  • Discussing with classmates


  • Talking to professors/teachers
  • Discussing with classmates
  • Making presentations
  • Talking to librarians
  • Interviewing

Daily Life

  • Watching TV
  • Listening to the radio
  • Watching movies
  • Chatting with friends
  • Talking on the phone
  • Listening to messages left on an answering machine

Daily Life

  • Talking to people in shops
  • Talking to customers at work.
  • Talking to bus drivers
  • Talking to doctors
  • Talking with friends
  • Talking at restaurants
  • Making reservations
  • Talking to school officials
  • Talking to apartment owners


Which of these are most common for you? Which are most challenging for you? Can you think of any more situations to add? These are the situations in which you must apply what you have learned and practiced in the modules. It is helpful to stay aware of how difficult or easy these situations are for you, and how you deal with your problems, and using your journal can help.

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