When it comes to Breaking Bad, you may be one of 3 groups of people:
1. “I’ve never seen it.”
2. “Eh, whatever…didn’t care for it.”
3. “AMAZING, re-watching…[for the 3rd time]”
Perhaps number 3 is a bit of an exaggeration, but whatever group you may….or may not fit into, this post will still definitely appeal to you. I think that films and TV series are sometimes undervalued as a learning tool. Most shows can become “guilty pleasures” or seen as times when you’re being lazy on the couch; however, they carry such incredible language learning opportunities. Actually, the learning doesn’t stop at language…cultural references can be seen too! They’re an insight to so much more than just the words you can hear. Not only is there the entertainment value (assuming you choose a good one, and like films) but there is the personal challenge: your goal to watch a foreign film, without subtitles. This inner challenge can be a great motivational tool if you’re the kind of person who needs a little extra motivation.
Most students learning English want to speak fluently, but don’t fully realize the importance of all those other skills that make a fluent speaker. You know which skills I am talking about, the forgotten ones: listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, reading, etc…
But how can a TV show help with my grammar and reading?
The listening part is obvious, you watch a show or movie and you practice listening. What isn’t so obvious is the underlying grammar that you are also listening to and processing. You’re experiencing complete and accurate sentence structures, a variety of tenses, and just how it should sound in relation to pronunciation and intonation. If you have subtitles, in English, you’ll practice reading skills (pace, skimming/scanning, comprehension), and there will be new vocabulary, without a doubt.
Still not quite convinced at how much a TV show can help with your language skills? Try it out! I’ve included a PDF attachment of an example of the type of material that’s a part of my English Through Film & TV Series course. The first section has important vocabulary and expressions, and not ones that you can necessarily find yourselves in a dictionary or online. You can pre-study the vocabulary so you are aware of the meanings as you watch the show. While you watch, a variety of questions will check your comprehension and understanding of the episodes, and finally as a way to practice speaking and wrap it up, discussion questions that you can review with me. In this case, I encourage interaction through my comment section. Share your thoughts, opinions, and answers for others to read as well!
Students & Teachers: If you’re interested in more lessons and practice with English using my English through TV worksheets then please, contact me here.
Download the pilot episode of Breaking Bad’s lesson here: