We bet you have heard about this method many times before and maybe even tried once or twice, but it didn’t go very well. Many who try to learn or improve the English language by watching movies face the same problem — it requires more time and effort than expected. Here are some major obstacles students face in this process:
- You have to watch it without distractions. If watching a movie in your mother language, you can simultaneously play with your phone, answer messages, get up for some snacks, and still be aware of what is going on in the movie, when watching it in the language you are currently learning you should be focused all the time on the screen. It is tiring.
- You don’t manage to find the words in subs. If you stop the movie every time you need to find some words in the dictionary or urban dictionary, you will watch a forty-minute episode for four hours. If you don’t stop it at all — you will have problems with understanding. This balance is hard to find.
- The results are not fast and evident. It is easier to track progress when you study language in a traditional way. You know how many lessons you have finished, and it makes you feel good about yourself. Watching movies, you need to collect a particular amount of hours to feel the difference in understanding, and it is very important not to leave this practice earlier.
- When the movie is boring, you are demotivated, when it is exciting, you want to switch to your mother tongue. When you get excited with the plot and really want to know what is going on, what are the jokes, what the twist really is, you just switch to your native language and watch, feeling guilty?
How to Do It Right Not to Quit
Focus on content that is important to you.
We all watch movies, and we all love them. If we like the content, it automatically becomes important for us. If it doesn’t happen — choose a movie that is really interesting to you. It is not only about being interested in watching, but it is also about context, which is more favorable for you. If you like political series, you are most probably interested in politics itself and like to talk about it. Watching this kind of movie will be useful to you because you will hear the same terms/lexis in the political tv shows you watch, articles you read, and conversations you have. Everything will be combined and help you learn.
If you understand the message, you automatically learn the language.
It is called comprehensible input. When we watch content that we like, we automatically want to understand the message, and this makes us remember words. When you feel like you understand the message, you can be proud of yourself. Even if you can translate about 60-70% of the dialogue, you will be able to understand what is going on from the context. Your brain puts words you don’t know in the context and find associations the next time you see these words. That is why learning by watching movies is, at some point, more productive than learning by reading or writing. Reading or writing, you lack context and are limited to the words you already know. If you encounter problems with writing essays, for now, consider addressing a professional English paper writing service for help e.g. SmartWritingService, and keep practicing.
Physiological training, working on the psychological and physiological state.
Watching movies, we don’t learn to make the correct pronunciation, but we train our brain to recognize patterns and remember them. This is what we need to start talking about and improve our pronunciation. Numerous moments in the sound of words or the movement of the lips and facial muscles are recorded in your memory without any effort. Also, don’t forget that the entire cinema industry was created to improve our psychological state. Everything revolves around getting pleasure and emotions. To learn something in such an environment and condition is the best we can do.
Learn the language core.
The language used in films is mostly simple. This is the language that native speakers use to communicate. Some films or TV shows go deeper into more specific areas, such as medicine or science. This is your chance to improve your vocabulary in these more specific areas.
Films can do it superbly. They make our imagination work, they reproduce feelings in us, and this is exactly what makes us learn.
If you are looking for a place to start, just pick the movie or a serial movie you like the most and try watching it. If it is too hard, go down on a complexity scale. You need to stay motivated, and movies which you almost can’t understand won’t help with it.