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Steps to Success » Lifelong Learning

Learning English Through Netflix

Learning English can be a tough task for second-language speakers. However, what if I told you there was a fun and easy way to do it? What if, in fact, you could improve your English by watching Netflix and other streaming platforms?

Copious research shows that watching movies and TV shows helps people learn languages. Most research participants find that watching English media improves their listening, speaking, pronunciation and vocabulary acquisition. Not only does watching this content improve processing skills for spoken language, it also gives learners access to authentic and real-life conversation, which textbooks rarely do. Equally important, learning through watching movies and TV is much more fun!

However, it is important for us to know exactly how we should watch English movies and TV. A great tactic is to watch things a number of times. You may want to turn on bilingual subtitles when watching for the first time, as this improves plot cognition. However, from the second time onwards, only turn on the English subtitles for the most effective improvement in your listening skills. Search for the words or expressions you find difficult in a dictionary. Furthermore, pick certain scenes you love and watch them again and again. After you listen, repeat the dialogue yourself. Try to sound as similar to the actors as possible.

Finally, when selecting what to watch, feel free to embrace your inner child and choose something simple to start with. Kids’ shows support comprehension with plenty of visual clues, so they’re perfect for second-language learners.


If you follow these tips, not only will you improve your English, but you’ll have a great time doing it!