For those of you that don’t know much about me I have spent most of my life outside my home country, England. I remember being told that we were moving to the Philippines at the age of 8. Truth be told nobody around us even knew where that was back in the 1980s. I attended an international school (ISM) for 6 years there and then moved to Thailand and continued my studies at the ISB (International School Bangkok). As the name implies, I was surrounded by people from all over the world and while people did speak their mother tongue most of the time people conversed in English as it was the language in which classes were taught. I would often ask my classmates how they became such good speakers of English despite having been brought up in places such as Egypt, Russia or Mexico. The most common answer I got might surprise you – TV.
Some of my students say that they don’t enjoy watching TV as they would prefer to actively do something. While I understand their feelings I think people need to understand how powerful TV can be in learning. Have you ever seen a child watch a Disney movie? They’re entralled. Mesmerized. It’s almost as if they’re in a trance. Unfortunately TV does have a bad reputation. It can ruin our eyes, becomes mindnumbing and has a fair amount of negative images.
However, I believe that TV doesn’t get the credit it deserves. In class the other day with a few of my students we analyzed its benefits and these are what we came up with:
2. Natural speed, intonation and vocabulary
3. Variety (there are so many shows to choose from)
4. Cheap (either free or a small monthly charge)
5. Knowledge (allows us to learn about the world)
6. and most importantly IT’S ENTERTAINING
The more we enjoy something the more we want to do it. TV has that power. People will rush home to be able to watch their favorite show. That’s why I encourage all my students to borrow DVDs from my library or watch Western TV shows that they are curious about. DVDs have an added advantage for learning in the form of subtitles. The more students immerse themselves in what they want to learn the faster they’ll learn it.
Here are some of the shows that I think most adults will find thoroughly enjoyable: Heroes, 24, Prison Break, Smallville, House, Lost, Entourage, Sex and the City, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, CSI, Messiah, Wire in the Blood, Seinfeld, Friends. I’d love to hear people’s comments on their favorites.