Works on: Listening, Image association
Effectiveness: 7/10 Fun Factor: 7/10
As we mentioned in previous posts, using movies for language learning requires your full, dedicated attention in order to be truly effective. It is nearly impossible to keep this kind of attention for the entire length of a movie. As a language learner, our attention can be compared to a baby’s or young child’s. If you don’t understand, your brain will start to filter out the nonsense and will doze off into the abyss of the mind. Once your attention starts to reduce, so does your learning. Your capacity to remain focused will depend on your interest in the topic, but also on your skill level in the language. Segment watching will maximize your language-learning time and will help you get that grown-up attention in no time.
It all comes down to this: you have to make sure you are concentrating the entire time. Remember to watch for 10-15 minutes, or until you feel your concentration level going down. Try to identify words you know and try to find the meaning of new words with context. Once you’re done with a segment, do something else for a while. When you come back to it, it can be a great idea to watch the same segment again. You will catch new words you didn’t hear the first time. Watch it several times if you need to. The benefits can be incredible.
You can choose any scene you like, just make sure it contains a reasonable amount of dialogue. Watching 15 minutes of your favorite Marvel superhero kicking some butt won’t help you very much in terms of language learning. The idea here is to enjoy and have fun while learning, but also to choose material that allows you to progress in your new language. If it turns out you love the car chase scene in Fast and Furious 12, but the whole scene contains a total of 5 words only useful when racing a car at 180 mph, you may want to find another scene to love for language-learning purposes.
Finding scenes to watch on YouTube is great because they often put the best scenes up and they are relatively short. If you watch a short scene a few times while concentrating on identifying new words, you’ll be surprised by the number of things you can learn. If you’re a complete beginner, you could study the same 15-minute scene for a few hours and learn hundreds of words with a single segment. You don’t need to push it that far though, but it just goes to show that it’s not necessarily about the amount of material you watch, it’s about the quality of the time dedicated to the scene. Segment watching is a lot more effective than zoning out for 2 hours.
As a beginner, segment watching is possibly the best way to keep your concentration level up. As you get better, segment watching will decrease in importance. It will become easier to concentrate and stay captivated once you have a strong foundation in your new language. The same is true for the number of repetitions; there is no need to watch a scene 20 times if you understand everything the first time. Once you understand most of the dialogue, time to move on!
So remember: in order to get the most out of your watching time, watch a small segment, then do something else. If you liked the clip you watched, watch it again using your brain power to its full potential. Once you’re bored or you feel like you have gained what you needed to gain from that clip, move on to another part of the film. If you didn’t enjoy the scene, move on immediately unless you feel it can really teach you something that other fun scenes can’t.
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All rights to their respective owners. Some images used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for educational purposes.
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