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See how watching movies can improve your English

Learning happens most effectively when we are relaxed and enjoying the process - See how movies can help your English

Season 1, episode 14
16 min / Published

Students improve their English pronunciation, comprehension and vocabulary base optimally when they're learning in a comfortable environment.

Levels of confidence improve and when you are confident in what you're doing, you are content and happy, which leads to smiling. Smiling improves pronunciation and better pronunciation reinforces the levels of comfort and confidence. It's the ultimate virtuous circle of positive reinforcement.

Movies are relaxing, aspirational and a gateway to an dreamy reality.

When we watch films, we dream, we desire and we decompress.

See how you too can take advantage of this type of learning!

Show notes

 Hello guys,

Welcome to another edition of my podcast, the IELTs exam coach.

Today I'd like to discuss in more detail a topic that's been weighing on my mind for some time now. I've constantly been looking for alternative ways of helping people expand their English knowledge, their understanding their pronunciation, their use of grammar, and word choices and phrases - except for those traditional methods or traditional avenues, like online teaching online videos, textbooks, instructional videos, and all of the above.

And the reason for this is that I have come to the realization that learning a language learning anything, any new skill is much improved. If it's done in an environment, or in a way that is relaxing. It's very, very simple to understand. And I tell my students this all the time that you improve optimally, when you are comfortable. When you're comfortable, your levels of confidence improve. And when you are confident in what you're doing, you are content and happy and satisfied. And when you are those things, you tend to smile, smiling, as has been proven and mentioned by me on previous podcasts, improves pronunciation and better pronunciation reinforces the levels of comfort and confidence. It's what we call the ultimate virtuous circle, opposite of a vicious circle, virtuous circle or a virtuous cycle, where positive reinforcement just happens in a circle all the time over and over and over. Now movies, as I understand them, are relaxing, aspirational. And for me a gateway to an alternative reality and more often than not a better reality. When we watch movies, we dream, we desire and we decompress, or de stress. So when we're watching movies, we are in a fantastic frame of mind. And everything that we do, happens a little bit easier than without the moods. Now, this is easier said than done. No, it's easy to claim that movies has this amazing effect. But how can movies and the enjoyment of the movies the dialogue, the cost, the interaction of the actors, the plot? All of these things? How can they help you understand English better help with your pronunciation, help you speak it more naturally and end up causing you to sound more like a natural or a native speaker. Now, when we look at at what movies can bring to the table in terms of English language learning, the first thing I'd like to address is real English. Okay, so textbooks and audio books are great for learning most vocabulary phrases or grammar rules, but it can never be better than listening to a real native English speaker. By watching British and American films or movies, you can listen firsthand to native English speakers speaking the language in a natural and comfortable way. This will help you learn modern English, modern English phrases and the phrases and vernacular that English speaking people use on a daily basis. Secondly, watching movies and listening to how actors speak in movies and seeing them in different scenarios can lead to better pronunciation.

Often it can be hard to know exactly how some English words are pronounced. However, hearing native speakers in movies can and will teach you the correct way to say the He's things you worry and are concerned about. The dialogues used in films also provide excellent examples of how sounds in words can change in connected speech in different scenarios in different settings. Next up, we look at something called Live context. When you learn a word, it can be very difficult to remember what exactly it means, and how specifically, it is used. In films, words are used as part of a story. And this context can help you learn and remember these words more effectively, because remember, they are accompanied with facial expressions with certain scenes with costumes, you know, with certain emotions. And, you know, in this process, more of your senses are incorporated. So the context of what these words mean and how they are used, become a lot more clear to you. And when it's clear, you understand it. And when it's when you understand something, you don't have to try and study it or learn it or memorize it, it comes naturally because you understand why it's used, and why the context is so important. Next is something that I like to call native accents. across Britain and America, they are many different accents used to speak English. While watching films, you will hear many regional accents being used. And this will help you to understand them better. Again, the context they will explain to you in the movie, when somebody with a really thick northern English accent or Scottish accent comes to the fore comes into the scene, they will be some context because all of a sudden the different accent will fall and an evenly on your ear. And they will be some context explaining where this person's from why they speak the way that they do. And you will be provided certain bits of information regarding the English accent that you are confronted with. Lastly, I think personally, watching movies can help you explore English culture. You can learn about the culture behind the language when you watch movies in English, language and culture of very, very closely related you can study both at the same time by watching original films. Now, of course, again, this is easier said than done. Which movies do you choose? How do you go about learning something? Do you break movie Up into certain segments? What do you focus on? How do you set your goals? All these things are vitally important when it comes to how you learn and what you learn. And that will come later. I think first off, we have to decide what tips or guidelines or best practice principles can we follow in terms of watching movies and how that applies directly to language learning. Now, the first tip is going to sound very, very, I would say simple or very logical, but it's very, very worth mentioning it's worthwhile mentioning.

When you choose a movie to learn from choose an interesting film or movie. The sounds very obvious. But one of the most important things when using films to study English is to watch the movies you will enjoy. If you happen to choose a boring form, you may lose interest and pay much less attention to the language used in the movie. So try to find interesting forms by genre. In other words, comedies, horrors, dramas, action movies, and maybe look for an actor or actress that you really like. The date of release can also be important. If you're specifically looking for an older movie, look towards the top 100 movies to be seen in made in Hollywood or something along those lines so that when you choose a movie, it'll pique your interest and it'll keep you engaged while the form is going on. Nine saying that you should always choose interesting foods. It also bears mentioning that you must avoid or rather not choose movies that are too difficult When you're watching a movie in English, it's important. In fact, it's crucial that you understand enough to follow the storyline. So try and choose a movie that suits your current level of English. There is no shame if you're a beginner to choose a cartoon or a children's movie Loctite Toy Story. It is it's not there's no shame in it. The actors that voice, Buzz and Woody are well known actors, they are seasoned and experienced actors, they use brilliant acting techniques, they dialogue and the pronunciation is awesome. So there's no harm in that. On the other hand, of course, if your understanding is up to 90 or 99%, the dialogue in these children's movies might be a little bit too easy for you. So then you need to choose something that's more your speed, a little bit more advanced. Thirdly, when you watch a movie, aim for 70% of understanding. What does this mean? When learning English with movies, you should aim to understand the general meaning the gist, and not try to understand or put into context every single word. Don't worry, if you miss some phrases, or some words, you're in there, or you don't understand the specific accent of the character in the movie, those things all form part of a bigger hole. So just try and get the gist or the general meaning up to 70% of the movie, you can always pause and rewind the movie, and write down new vocabulary if you like. But avoid doing this too often, because then it becomes too robotic. Then you bring in the textbook, and the pen and the paper again. And then we revert back to the old school way of learning. And we want to do something fun, engaging and exciting. The most important thing, after all, when watching a movie is that you should have fun. Number four, refers to dialogue. All right. I know from from many of my favorite films, there's always a line or a piece of dialogue that I can say off by heart that I've know that I know, like my own words. If you hear that line you really like write it down and repeat it. If you say it aloud, you are more likely to remember, sometimes you will hear phrases that sound cool, and are used in everyday English. In the UK, or in America. Textbooks unfortunately, don't teach these everyday informal slang expressions, but movies do. And learning this, understanding this and using this can help you sound more natural, right? More like a native. Lastly, use subtitles in the right way. Now, beforehand, I mentioned a little bit earlier I mentioned that you incorporate your senses. When you look at a setting of a movie, you incorporate more than one sense, right you're looking at something you're hearing it, you you're seeing facial expressions, certain costumes, you know, certain emotional elements. And when you incorporate more than one of your senses, the chances that you will remember more and understand better what's going on. Those trances are considerably improved. So when you are watching the movie in English, it makes sense to switch on the subtitles, you can do this on YouTube, you can do this on most devices, most streaming devices, get those subtitles up on the screen, especially in English. Because what's happening now is you are seeing what's happening in front of you in terms of the context and the setting and the actors and the facial expressions. And you are hearing and seeing or reading the text on the screen, which means that you are simultaneously incorporating audio your hearing and your vision by reading. And when you incorporate two of those of your senses or more than one sensor at a time, the chances of improved comprehension and understanding art drastically improved.

Now the trick is choosing the films that really get messages across very well and that will interest you. Not only because of the dialogue, but because of the actors in the movie, the storyline, the engagement between the actors, the cinematography and the direction. All of these elements combine very, very well in these movies. And if you are tuned in, or when you tuned in, I should say you learn more.

Next week, we will look at my top 10 favorite movies and how those movies can help you. Remember, they don't have to be YOUR favorite movies, but I can explain to you why they are my favorite movies, and what I can learn from them in terms of a language journey - a second language or non native language journey. When you understand this, you can make movies your own, and it doesn't have to stop at movies, it can be series, it can be music videos, it can be everything and anything. There are so many avenues that can help you understand and better comprehend and improve your English in a much more relaxed and convenient way than just trying to learn from from textbooks or audio books or from an online teacher. Find these ways, make the journey more pleasurable and more enjoyable and I promise you, you will improve in leaps and bounds and in ways you never thought possible.

Right guys, thanks for tuning in. Like I said, next week, same place, same time, we'll discuss my 10 favorite movies. Why I like them, why I think they work very well. And hopefully you get to identify your 10 favorite ones, bring them to the party and improve your levels of understanding comprehension and sounding like a native. Thanks for joining me. I'll see you again soon. Take care goodbye.


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