Using Streaming Platforms as a tool for learning

[Spoiler: There’s a link with translation of this text here

Couch Potato Delivery - Página inicial | Facebook

Entertainment has always been a part of our lives, and more so since our lifestyle has shifted to a more homebound one. As quarantine lingers, the seventh art form plays an important role in our sense of well being, so we’re deciding to take that as an opportunity to create a stronger bond with language and communication. Since being a couch potato is in, let’s reap its benefits the best we can and learn how to use streaming platforms as a tool for learning!

Whether you prefer Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Hulu or Youtube TV, these tips will help you get something valuable out of the couch potato imposed trend.

The first thing that any language learner should do: set your streaming platform to your target language. That goes without saying. Listening is the utmost. Then, we have the subtitles. You can set them in our mother language. Unless, that is, you have the time to watch the movie or episode two times in a row: the first time with subtitles in Portuguese and the second time with subtitles in English. It’s like riding a bike with training wheels. It will help you a lot in the beginning, but someday you will have to take the training wheels off. That means watching it with English subtitles. 

Now, if you are a little further along the path of life hacks for learning effortlessly, you probably already watch your favorite shows with the subtitles and audio in your target language. So those become your training wheels. Take a step back and reflect. Have you grown accustomed to it? Can you increase the level of difficulty and challenge yourself in order to grow? If you can, then you probably should. It’s time to give ‘no subtitles’ a try and keep using the streaming platforms as a tool for learning.

Another fun challenge is picking shows from different countries, which will depict different accents; or genres you don’t usually consume, for vocabulary expansion purposes. Do you only watch animations, but would like some more diverse content to join in the conversation about structural racism? Watch Dear White People and Self Made on Netflix. Want to improve on your accent understanding and poetic wording? Go for Anne with an E and brace yourself for the wave of emotions and reconnecting with your inner child. Want to travel but can’t? Travel series and documentaries. Miss spending more time in nature? Oh boy, do I have some good news for you! Dancing with the Birds will bring the glimmer back to your eyes with its exquisite nature and quirky voice over. 

  • And for our final suggestion, you will need a partner. And pen and paper. Or perhaps a shared file on your preferred word editor. Elect your language buddy and pick a movie or a show that both you can relate to, that way you’ll reap the most benefits. Then, set some rules, or rather, guidelines to this experiment. Write down all new words and expressions, and use the pause button when you need to, so you don’t miss anything. It’s a good idea to have your mate on a call, either video or audio only, so you can comment as you go. Do little discussion panels after the episodes, or weekly, if you’re making it a part of your routine. Explore the commentator and the critic inside you. Comment on what character you identify with the most, and which you like the least. Analyze the flaws in the character’s arches and the problematics in their relationships. Note down the expressions that you like and use them in the after chat. Extract lessons that you can take to real life situations.

These are some tips for making your time in front of a screen more fruitful and light! Did you enjoy the reading? Do you have any suggestions? What are you going to try first? Let us know in the comments!    

Written by: Teacher Lauren