Hey, guys, it’s me, your American English teacher Gabby from Go Natural English! Do you want to improve your English exponentially? I’m really excited to talk to you about how you can improve your English skills using Netflix series!
I’ve also written a worksheet to help you. If you follow the steps as I explain them here, and as I’ve written them in the worksheet, you’ll get some really fun and useful suggestions for improving your English listening and speaking skills, using your favorite Netflix series.
A New Way to Learn English
The first thing we have to talk about is that this is not a traditional way of learning English. This is a way for you to learn English from home, or from anywhere you might watch Netflix. It’s going to feel different than using a textbook, or having your English teacher tell you what to say, or what to do.
Not Your Ordinary Worksheet
This is also not a worksheet, although I am going to give you a worksheet I created that will guide you through how to use any Netflix series to improve your English. Click on this link to download the worksheet – it’s 100% free.
Can You Think “Outside the Box?”
Next, I need you to think “outside the box,” which just means to be open-minded about using Netflix to improve your listening and speaking skills. Let me ask you a question – do you know anyone who thinks they are fluent in English just because they watch Netflix in English? I’m sure we all know people like that! But the truth is, it’s easier to understand what you hear in English than it is to say what you want to say.
Have you ever felt like this? You might think, “oh wow, I can understand what you’re saying in English, but I just can’t express myself confidently?” Watching Netflix is not the same as being fluent in English!
Here’s What You Need to Do
Now, these are the steps you can take to watch Netflix actively. We aren’t just watching the screen and listening to the words! These exercises require you to take an active role in your English learning!
You will need a notebook, a pen or pencil (or a digital notebook like Google Docs). I’m going to ask you to play and pause Netflix. This isn’t going to be binge watching with your popcorn and soda!
Choose Your Favorite Netflix Series
First, I want you to choose your favorite Netflix series. It should be a series that’s been created in English, so we aren’t working with dubbed over language, or only having subtitles in English. It doesn’t matter if the actors are native English speakers – we just want to have fluent, real-world English.
There are actually more non-native English speakers in the world than native speakers, did you know that? Anyway, use a series that you enjoy because we want to enjoy ourselves as we learn and have fun learning English! Yes, it’s totally possible! You can do it and become fluent.
Read the Preview Information
Now before we watch an episode, I want you to look at the preview information. My first question for you is, “What do you think is going to happen in this episode?
No watching yet! Hit the brakes, stop and use your brain! You are smart, and we are going to use your brain to help you improve your English even before we start watching.
I want you to predict, to guess, to imagine what is going to happen in this episode. Write down one sentence, it doesn’t have to be long. For example, you could write, “I think blah, blah, blah is going to happen in this episode.” Whatever you think, write it down. You might be right and discover that you have some secret power to predict what’s going to happen in Netflix series! This could be a very valuable skill that you didn’t even know you have!
Anyway, writing a sentence that predicts what you think is going to happen is helping you activate your brain in English before we start watching.
Now, Let’s Start Watching
If you are a lower intermediate learner, or if you find it difficult to understand what’s going on in English, then I’m going to encourage you to turn on the subtitles in English. However, if you are a more advanced learner, you don’t need the subtitles!
Watch about 10 minutes of the episode. As you watch, write down new vocabulary words, phrases, phrasal verbs, or just interesting pronunciation points that you hear. You can pause the video while you write, but it’s important to take notes while you’re watching.
Summarize What You Just Saw
At the end of 10 minutes, or when there’s a natural break in the episode, I want you to write a summary in English of what you just saw. What happened? For example, this character did that, and that character reacted in this way.
You are using your English skills to write what happened. You are producing English, and this is what will activate your English brain. You won’t have as many problems hesitating to speak or write, because this exercise will create fluency for you.
Even if it’s a little annoying or challenging, just try it for a few minutes. The actual time you spend is not important. Just write what you think happened.
Talk about it to check your understanding
Now, at this point, it’s really helpful if you have someone to talk to about what happened, so you can confirm your understanding. Don’t worry if you don’t know anybody! This is also an effective way to study on your own – self-learning is better than no learning!
Okay, let’s recap
1. You have read the preview and predicted what is going to happen.
2. You watched a portion, maybe 10 minutes, of the show while writing down new vocabulary words and making other notes.
3. You summarized what you saw by writing a sentence or two.
The Cycle of Steps
Now, before you continue, I want you to guess what is going to happen next. See, we are creating a cycle of steps meant to activate your English brain! So before you press “play” again, be sure to predict or imagine what is going to happen next.
What about those new vocabulary words and phrases that you found? Well, again, if you have a native-speaker friend or a friend who knows a little more English than you, ask them! In English! Google is also a very good English-speaking friend, by the way. You can search for those phrases or vocabulary words and probably figure out for yourself what they mean.
Watch it again!
Now, I encourage you to re-watch the same 10 minutes of the show and see if you can understand it better. By watching it again, you can really improve your English. You’ll say, “Ah, now I know what those words mean, and I understand what’s happening!”
Of course, this requires a little bit of patience. You might be anxious to get to the next part of the episode, but in order to improve your English skills we have to be a little patient. We have to use our brains to:
1. actively produce English
2. guess what’s going to happen, and
3. check and confirm your understanding of new vocabulary words, phrasal verbs, slang, etc
You have the power to take control of your own learning! Use these steps for your own education – you can do this! I want to help you, so send me an email here and tell me if you’re willing to try this. Do you think this might be helpful for you?
Remember, if you haven’t downloaded your free worksheet yet, just click here to do that right now. And don’t forget to sign up here, and I’ll send you free tips for learning English directly to your email inbox!
Not Sure What to Watch?
Not sure what to watch? Check out this post where I recommend certain Netflix series depending on your English level. Thanks for watching, happy studying, and I’ll see you again soon!