The pitfalls of studying English just Netflixing

G’day, how have you been mate? Today, I am going to talk about the pitfalls of studying English just Netflixing. I do understand some of you guys reckon watching movies is one of the best ways to improve your English. Undeniably, you can somehow, but nevertheless there will have not much benefits than you expect. I don’t stop you watching movies as a means of studying English, but I’d like to suggest Netflixing combining with other foundational English studies such as grammar text, vocabularies, read aloud, self-talk, and reading books, etc. Let’s dive into it!

There is no benefit for watching movies if you haven’t gone through any foundational English studies

You can’t really expect any dramatic improvement in English if you haven’t mastered all basic skills such as grammar, vocabularies, pronunciation, read aloud and self-talk. These basics are critical to boosting English proficiency. First, learning grammar helps you catch up with an actor or actress’s voice by identifying S(ubject), V(erb) and O(bject) more clearly. Second, learning vocabularies helps understand more phrases. Third, refining pronunciation helps hear voice much clearer. Fourth, practising read aloud on a daily basis helps get used to the speed of actor or actress’s voice easily. Finally, doing a self-talk every day helps learn more practicality when it comes to everyday general conversation. If you do all of them or at least partially, Netflixing works, to some extent, for you.

You can enjoy watching movies and somehow studying English via Netflix, but you hardly develop the working knowledge of English

Personally, yes of course I sometimes watch Netflix’s movies at home. However, I can’t feel I am learning English itself, to be honest with you. Instead of learning English per se, I am, more or less, using my current English skills to appreciate the content of movies, and sometimes I can learn new phrases, in which case I can see the point as to the effectiveness of learning English by Netflixing. But, unfortunately, to do so, you’ve got to have at least all basic skills as I mentioned before. Were it not for them, Netflixing would have been a waste of time. If the purpose of watching movies is to enjoy, that’ll be awesome. And if you have already acquired all basic skills, then you can fully appreciate and maybe learn new phrases as you hear voice more clearly. Consequently, all depends upon your prior or current English skills whether or not Netflixing could become a driving force of boosting English working knowledge.

Netflixing-led English study is not really effective because movies’ transcripts tend to be very fancy or elaborate compared to English news, TEDtalks, etc.

Unless you have already reached advanced level of English language, studying English from scratch via Netflixing doesn’t make sense to me. The vast majority of famous Hollywood movies are quite fancy and so difficult to understand the contents without subtitles, right? If you have already known about all intermediate to advanced vocabularies along with correct pronunciation and grammar, then you can probably enjoy them. But even so, you hardly understand everything. And, the thing is that heaps of fancy phrases are not useful for your daily conversation. Watching news or TEDtalks are much more English-learner-friendly for sure.

Movies have a great number of slangs and informal phrases involved, so it’s difficult to make a systematic study of English language

As I’ve already stated previously, movies are prone to be fancy English involved, and I’d like to reiterate this by saying the fact that there are so many slangs and colourful phrases in movies, which has an adverse effect on your English learning. My recommendation is to learn formal vocabularies and proper grammar first, and then refining your weak sounds of both vowels and consonants, and finally read aloud the articles and self-talk well before jumping into a more enjoyable learning style. If you just do Netflixing all day as a means of studying English, then you won’t develop any formal English skills, instead you’ll do get used to a halfway English. And worst of all, what you’ve learnt throughout movies tends to be some slangs and phrases but you can’t really flexibly use them due to lack of foundational English skills. When it comes to slangs, by the way, you can’t really use them unless the situation is perfectly appropriate or you’ve profoundly known about the cultures behind the slangs. So that’s why I highly recommend studying English by watching news and TEDtalks if you haven’t reached advanced level yet and still learning basic grammar and vocabularies. Netflixing is just a part of entertainment, and hence it cannot be substituted for a proper English study.

That’s all for today! Thanks for reading.

Have a great day!

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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