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After a long, tough, and tiring day, everyone likes to watch a film or their favourite series. You may have seen courses advertised saying you can learn English just by watching a television programme, but is this possible?

Exercises with subtitles

Netflix generally is very well subtitled, with almost no mistakes in the translations. I have tested this myself, as I often watch a mixture of Portuguese and English language materials with subtitles in the other language at home. As a method to try to learn directly from Netflix is to watch an English-language programme with subtitles in your own language (if you are new to the English language), then the next day watch the episode again with English subtitles and make notes of new words you hear/read. Then try to watch the same episode without subtitles. Then repeat the cycle with the next episode. This would teach you a lot of new vocabulary as well as train your listening. Another thing that needs to be considered is active and passive learning.

Other resources to help your English

Watching videos or listening to podcasts can improve your listening skills, but to improve your conversation, you need to talk to people to practice. The best way of doing this is to have classes and practice with a teacher, as not all native speakers would feel comfortable correcting your mistakes as it would make them feel rude. I have a student who is a historian. The homework I set for this student is to watch a documentary based on their field, which gives us a topic to discuss in class as well as gives the student extra listening practice with a theme that is both useful and interesting for the student. YouTube is fantastic for finding a variety of interesting documentaries of different lengths and topics to watch and discuss with your teacher. Even as a teacher, I look forward to the next documentary. The two YouTube channels I recommend most are: TedTalks and BBC Learn English. BBC Learn English is very good for teaching grammar, and TedTalks provides many videos containing very good professional advice in very clear and easy-to-understand English. I would also recommend watching your favourite sports with English commentary whenever possible. I learned a huge amount of Portuguese vocabulary by watching Football (soccer) on Brazilian television, and your favourite sports can help you learn a lot of good vocabulary too.

I hope this article will help you improve your English and a fun and interesting way.


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