By Mollie Porein.
Most if not everyone loves watching TV shows and movies. Did you know that we learn more when we are having fun? TV does have a vast potential to be used in an educational form when learning English, especially, for those to whom it’s not their first language. These days, movies and television shows are created for more than entertainment for us. But not all movies or series have the same benefits; tailor your list to the ones that are productive. So what is the better way for one to learn or to improve their English?
Below is how you can learn the English language watching TV series and movies.
Watch without Subtitles
People tend to think that watching with the subtitles on is more beneficial if you are planning on learning English. On the contrary, try watching the series or movie without the subtitles to challenge yourself. You will be more focused as you try to grasp the conversations of the show. This method is useful as it will help you see how much you can understand without using the subtitles.
Choose an Interesting TV Series or Movie
As obvious as it may sound, some learners do not adhere to this rule. If the show that you picked is boring, chances are that you will become bored as well. Hence, when you get bored, your concentration levels will be low, and you will not be able to pay close attention. Be it an ultimate blockbuster such as the Avatar or comedy, e.g., Friends; the choice is all yours as long as it is exciting and you will be able to focus on the show.
Include Kids Shows on Your List
What level of English can you comprehend? You should try watching different types of series or movies until you find the ones that are easy for you to understand. If you still have a hard time comprehending the conversations, then there is no shame in dialing it down a notch. Try looking for kids shows; there is entirely no shame in watching movies or series intended for the kids because they get articulated more clearly. The dialogues are of reasonable speed and less complicated. These days, current programs for kids are as entertaining as the best of Jim Carrey films.
Repeat Short Phrases
Majority of movies or TV series for that matter have cool catchy phrases. Short phrases such as “Sure thing” or “Hey you guys!” are profoundly used in the English language. If you like the sound of it, try repeating it several times, this will help you to remember it for a long time. It is an enjoyable exercise, and you can discipline yourself to learn some phrases in a week.
Use a Dictionary
If you are going to use a dictionary while watching a series or a movie, you have to make sure that your subtitles are on to get the correct spelling. This way, whenever a word of interest gets used, all you have to do is pause it and look the word up using a dictionary. A new word every day will not only improve your vocabulary but will also make you smarter. Going through all this trouble in understanding the word is a sure way of remembering it for a long time.
Cultivate Your Interest
What is your primary objective of learning English? Your goal should be to satisfy your cultural appetite. If your life’s primary purpose is to become a doctor or a nurse, ‘Greys Anatomy’ is a good show. Perhaps your interest is to become a great chef then you could always watch ‘MasterChef US.’ Learn the usual terms used in your field of interest and start practicing them.
You will need someone who is proficient in English along this learning journey. Once you’ve completed an episode of the TV series or a movie, you can try to narrate it to them or try to write it down for them to read, you should have a beginning, middle part and you can ask them to teach you how to start a conclusion if you do not know. While describing the show that you just watched, try and add as many details as possible. Quote the actors’ sentences as much as possible, and you will see how putting your knowledge and skills into practice will benefit you in the long run.
Keep a Notepad and Pen While Watching
It is incredibly vital on your part to note down the phrases and words that you hear, and you would wish to use. You can push yourself to five words a day. When describing these words, explain or define the words using English. Refrain yourself from directly translating them to your first language. This will slow your learning progress. Also, note down the context in which the said word got used because it will be easy for you to know how to use it.
You Can Use Spaced Repetition Technique
Did you know that language learning is directly linked to repetitive practice and the space between the repetitions? This skill involves reviewing new vocabularies at regular intervals over a period. As you continue to watch, the intervals between the reviews should get longer and longer each time. The point of this technique is to help you minimise cramming let’s say 100 words in a day. It will help you to space out learning the vocabulary across some days or even weeks in other cases. Below is how it works.
Pick a movie or a TV show
Watch it once with your notepad, write down the new words that are use
After a day, watch it again, then watch it after three days and later after six days until the words stick
Use VLC Player
It is a video player used in watching movies or series on a computer. You can always download the tool on your computer if you do not have it. Since you are learning English, VLC makes it possible for you to play the shows on half or quarter speed. If there are parts that you did not understand, you have the chance to watch it at a slower speed to understand better. Of course, there are other media players out there that provide the same functionality. We, however, just find VLC so easy to use.
Learning takes time regardless of whichever method you wish to use. Luckily, nowadays, we have a wide range of sources for watching both TV series and movies. There is cable, YouTube, satellite TV and DVDs, just to name a few. If you feel tired of learning English through a book or going to class, then there is no other fun method to do so than by using television. It is a motivated method for those intending on teaching themselves more authentically and effectively. With 58% of English learners agreeing that they use movies and TV series to learn the language, this is a clear indication that it works. Take your time to enjoy the shows. If you feel tired, you can always take a short break, sip some water, enjoy a walk and get back to it once more.
Are there other ways that you can learn English by watching television series or movies? Share them with us!
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