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6 TIPS how to learn English watching movies and TV shows

6 TIPS how to learn English watching movies and TV shows

Hundreds of TV channels, an account on Netflix, uloz.to, YouTube, and other web portals have led us to believe that films are king! However, lovers of good films and series are clear about where to look for “quality material”. It is necessary to find the needle in the haystack.

There are many possibilities. Choosing the right one is an art. Even more so when it comes to movies and series in English. In order for the chosen title to grab you, it needs to draw you into the plot, and the level of English must meet your needs.

However, once you’ve found a series you enjoy and want to watch, how can you use it to help improve your language?

1. A series is better than a film

If you would like to know how to learn English from films, you may have already wondered whether films or series would serve you better. A series gives you space to get used to the actors’ voices, their accents, themes, and vocabulary. You know the characters, it’s easier to remember the slang used and deduce what they are likely to say in specific situations. Thanks to the regularity and drama typical of series, you will naturally look forward to the next part.

2. Watch one part more than once

If you have a problem with understanding, try watching the same part more than once. Repetition is also key in this case. When listening and watching the same episode of the series again, the brain remembers what it heard more easily. It also gives you the opportunity to pick up on more than you did the first time and you may find you’re able to understand more vocabulary the more times you watch the same scene/part, etc.
You are more “on pins and needles” in the film. You need to concentrate more to understand the first shot. The brain does not get as much time to memorize new words and sentences as in the series.

3. Retell and write down the content

You will do great if, after watching a movie or part of a series, you write down its contents on paper.  When you write by hand, you also train your muscle memory, you can remember new words more easily than when typing on a laptop. However, use whichever method works best for you or even try leaving yourself a voice message or using a recording app and speaking your thoughts out loud. When preparing this summary, try using the language you heard in the series so that you immediately start putting it into practice.
By reviewing it in this way, you will return to the topic and fix the new vocabulary more easily. You can then retell the story in your own words or come up with your own additional activities. Feel free to ask yourself questions like: What would I highlight in a movie or series? What would be worthy of criticism? What am I taking from what I’ve watched? Etc.

Alternatively, who else do you know who’s watched/is watching the same series? Why don’t you meet up and discuss it with them in English?

4. Keep a diary of what you watched.

Similar to the idea in tip 3, keeping a diary of what you watched and going back to it to review the vocabulary as well as remembering what it was about and what you enjoyed in it. Keeping a record can also remind you of the great progress you’re making.

5. Turn off the subtitles after a while

When you start watching films and series, leave the subtitles on. It’s easier to get into the action with them. Once you feel solid ground under your feet, turn off the subtitles. If you want to practice your reading skills, you could turn off the audio and focus on reading instead. Remember to practice whichever skill is weakest.

6. Audio is better for beginners

Finding really good films in English for beginners that replicate A1 or A2 vocabulary can be difficult. Even fairy tales tend to be demanding on vocabulary at times. We recommend Penguin audio books with simplified vocabulary for beginners. Alternatively, the American website Starfall.com, which offers cleverly arranged fairy tales. After clicking on a specific sentence, a voice from the fairy tale will read it to you. Since movies with plain English are not easy to find, we recommend CD or e-book recordings for beginners.

6. Fall in love with TEDx videos

They are inspiring, easily accessible, with well-crafted subtitles which are available in several languages, as well as being interesting and inspiring. You listen to colloquial but written English and at the same time, if necessary, you can follow the transcript or subtitles. In addition, you can choose topics that interest you. If you are watching videos to improve your English and expand your vocabulary, try to watch the video as many times as you can until you understand it perfectly. Finally, retell it in your own words and write its content in ten sentences.