TEACHER: “WATCH or LISTEN TO 'REAL' ENGLISH, that will help you improve your English”
STUDENT: "OK thanks" [watches an English documentary]
TEACHER: "Did you watch or listen to English?"
STUDENT: "Yes, I watched an English documentary"
TEACHER: "Fantastic, so what did you learn?"
STUDENT: "ermm...to be honest I don't know what I learnt from watching it, I just listened... I didn't know what to do when I listened."
We as teachers, tell English learners to expose themselves to real English. We tell them to watch English documentaries, listen to the radio or music, listen to English podcasts etc.
This is an excellent way to improve! However, the key is; to know what to do when you you watch or listen to English, and not many English learners know this.
That’s what we are going to help you with in this blog!
Let’s look at 3 BENEFICIAL ACTIVITIES that you can do when watching or listening to English...
ACTIVITY #1 - Review what you have watched/listened to.
This is a great way to re-use vocabulary from the video/audio, it’s great to practice grammar and sentence structure and also practice connecting your ideas together in English.
There are 2 WAYS you can ‘review’ ...you can either write or speak – it’s your choice! If you do review by speaking, try to record yourself (use your phone or computer). You can then listen back and your identify common problems in order to further improve.
Ideas of what to write or say;
- Talk about the main ideas of what you have watched/listened to.
- Describe the story in your own words
- Give your personal opinions about it.
- Talk about the characters/people.
- Rate it: what was good/bad? Explain why.
ACTIVITY #2 - ONLY Focus on Learning Vocabulary.
This activity will help improve your vocabulary skills. Especially, ‘real English vocabulary’ that is used naturally by natives. (phrasal verbs, idioms, expressions)
How you do this is: before you watch or listen, grab a notebook and a pen. Set yourself the task of learning 10 new words, or 5 new phrasal verbs or 5 new expressions. (don't learn too many as it will make it harder to remember.) When you hear them, write them in your notebook – write down the context in which you heard it!
When you have finished watching or listening you can then create your own sentences using the new vocabulary in context.
ACTIVITY #3 - Mimic Natives
This activity might feel a little bit strange at first but it’s a fantastic way to become more confident when you speak English and improve pronunciation and fluency skills.
So, this activity is; to mimic/ copy what you hear. Only focus on copying the speakers NOT understanding or vocabulary.
LISTEN to a sentence…STOP the video/audio…REPEAT the sentence and CONTINUE.
When you do this, you can identify which words you find difficult to pronounce and focus on individual sounds, word stress and sentence stress. Also copying native speakers will help with your intonation and finding the correct rhythm to your English…. Overall, improving your spoken English.
There you have it…3 Great Activities!
Go on…TRY THEM!
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Matthew & Becky
Online English Skills