Film and T.V. series provide a source for 'real-life' situations outside your lesson. It's great for exposing you to natural expressions and flow of speech. We all know that motivation is critical in determining successful English language learning and film, is an excellent motivator, making the process of language learning unique, entertaining and enjoyable.
In order to create an immersive atmosphere when you are not in class, it's always good to set aside at least 20 minutes a day reserved for your English learning. This can either be in the form of : reading, writing, listening or speaking.
Film can help immensely with your comprehension and listening skills, the visual element of film will make it easier for you to understand the dialogue and action, but be careful, you'll need to use your 20 minutes wisely. First of all, a film can be too long to watch all in one go, and you may lose your focus. It's best to watch the chosen film is small 'bite-size' parts. Here are some ideas that can help you get the most out of engaging with media:
1) Watch films that are essentially British. They will open you to a wide range of accents and British dialects. There will be many characters with different accents from: Scottish, Welsh, Birmingham, Liverpool, South London, North London, 'Posh', to ' Working class'. You will get to listen to real British English this way, something you'll never find in a text book!
2) Turn on the subtitles. Watch the movie once using English subtitles for an extra lesson in reading and comprehension. Then watch the movie again, but this time turn the subtitles off, so you can understand and notice new things. This repeated action will help take in new words and phrases.
3) Avoid stopping and starting the movie every time you hear a new word or phrase. It will spoil your immersion experience. What you can do instead, is to have a notebook and pen at hand, and write down things you want to remember. You can look these up later in the dictionary.
4) It's important to watch films that you know you'll enjoy.
5) Watch a T.V. series on a weekly basis or even in one block. Why? Repetition and motivation is key to learning a language. You can harness the power of these things watching your favourite T.V. series. Episodes are shorter than film and can last up to 25 hours or more over the course of the series.
Your choice of T.V series will stay constant, and after each episode unfolds, you'll find yourself attached to the characters. They will have a well-defined personality, speak in a specific way and using the same words and expressions over and over.
Take this opportunity to turn English language learning into your guilty pleasure!
Here is a selection of British films I've shared with my students:
Wish you were here - 1987 - Drama film/Romance
Shaun of the Dead - 2004 - Fantasy/Action
Monty Python's Life of Brian - 1979 - Comedy/satire
The Woman in Green - Black and white/Thriller
This is England - 2006 - Drama/Indie film