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Learn English With Movies Using This Movie Technique

– [Voiceover] Welcome to
The Effortless English Show with the world’s number one
English teacher, AJ Hoge, where AJ’s more than 40
million students worldwide finally learn English
once and for all without the boring
textbooks, classrooms and grammar drills. Here’s AJ with a quick
piece to help you learn to speak fluent
English effortlessly. – Hello and welcome to The
Effortless English Show! I am AJ Hoge, the author of
Effortless English, this book. And this is the show
that teaches you to speak English powerfully. Many years ago, I was sitting in Spanish class. So I was in university,
sitting in my Spanish class, another day of Spanish, (sighs)
waiting for the teacher. And the teacher strolled
in, and I’m thinking, “Oh God, another, another
terrible class of grammar rules “and vocabulary lists.” But on this day
something different. The teacher was pushing a
cart, right, with wheels that had a TV on top. So, instantly
everybody in the class kind of sat up more
straight and smiled, and there was a little
bit of energy in the room, and we all looked at each other, and everybody was happy. This positive energy spread
around the classroom. We all kind of giggled and
laughed, and “Ah”, “Ooh”. Because we realized
that it was Movie Day. Yes! No boring grammar rules,
no boring vocabulary lists, no tests, no quizes – we
were gonna watch a movie! Yeah! Movie Day was always
a happy day in school, in any class, but
especially in Spanish class. So the teacher hooked up
the TV, plugged it in, and, of course, there
was a VCR in those days, so they used tapes. There was a VCR, and the
teacher put in the tape, and started the movie. Then she walked over and
turned off the lights. So movies days were wonderful
because it was a day where we didn’t have
to do anything, right. There is no real studying,
no work, no stress; the teacher wouldn’t call on us and force us to speak Spanish and make us all stressed
out and worried. So I sat back ready
to watch the movie, and the movie began. It was a story about, I
don’t know, an immigrant coming to America from Mexico. But because it was
Spanish class, of course, the whole movie was in Spanish. So the teacher walked over
to her desk and sat down, and started reading a book. And I could tell
she was also happy, because no work for her, right? Just plug in the
movie, press Play, and then sit back and relax for
the whole hour of the class. So, in the beginning of
the movie I watched it with good concentration, and, of course, everybody
speaking Spanish, and I couldn’t
understand anything. Basically – zero (laughs). So I’m watching – eh, but
I’m watching the pictures, kind of following the
story, kind of figuring out, kind of understanding
what was happening. I managed to concentrate
maybe for 10 minutes, but then after 10 minutes
I could feel my energy dropping down. And I started getting tired:
my shoulders dropped down, I leaned back, “Aah, oh,
well, just enjoy the movie.” (sighs) And then after 15 minutes
my eyes got a little – we say “droopy” meaning they
get kind of low like this, this is droopy eyes. So my eyes got droopy. Then I looked around the
classroom at the other students. (laughs) I looked over to my right,
and I saw several students with their heads down on
their desk, just like this. Just sleeping or resting,
not even watching the movie, not even trying, just. Several others looked like me, most of the others
looked like me: just sitting kind
of bored-looking, with these blank faces, staring at the movie, but
not understanding anything. And it stayed that way
for the entire class. I got sleepier and sleepier
– I didn’t fall asleep, but I was kind of half
awake and half asleep with this look on my
face the whole time. More and more people in
the class, my classmates, put their heads
down on their desks. Some of them started
whispering to each other, passing notes to each
other, “Hey!” (whispers). In English, of course. Pretty much no
one in the class paid attention to
the whole movie because we couldn’t
understand it at all. Finally, at the end of class,
the teacher put down her book that she was
reading, walked over, stopped the movie
about half way – because we couldn’t
watch the whole thing, the class was too short – walked over, flipped
on the lights. And the bell rang “brrrring”, and we all stood up
and got our books, and hurried out of the
class off to our next class. An hour wasted, but at least
an hour without stress. Later in my life I became
an English teacher. And I can remember, at
several jobs that I had, walking by classrooms
of other teachers and seeing the exact
same situation, but in English. Looking through the
door or the window, seeing an English teacher
bring in the television, looking at all the happy
faces of the students, because “Yay, an easy
day of doing nothing!” And the teacher plugging
in the television, popping in a movie –
this time in English, turning off the
lights, pressing Play. The teacher also happy
walking to their desk, usually reading a book, or
sometimes just, you know, laying back and resting
and doing nothing; and little by little all
the students in the class falling asleep (snores). That is how most
people use movies or television shows to
learn English – sadly. Now, at home I know that you
might try to learn English with TV or movies. Perhaps you turn on CNN and you try to follow the news. Maybe you watch a
movie on television, you watch the Star
Network, or HBO, or whatever you
can get in English. You turn it on, you press
Play, and you watch the movie. And of course, what happens? Usually the same thing
that happened to me in my Spanish class, the same thing that happened
to all those students that I watched in
English classes. In the beginning you try
to follow what’s happening, but you can’t understand
most of it: it’s too fast, they use a lot of
idioms, they use slang, they speak with maybe a
little bit different accents. And so, you try to figure out
the story from the pictures, but after a while
your energy drops, your concentration drops, because it’s too
hard to understand. And then you finish the
whole movie – maybe, and you have basically
learned no English at all. And yet, around the world
teachers continue to show movies to their classes in
this exact same way. A waste of time. It’s used as a waste of time; it’s used as an easy
day, a restful day. It’s used as wishful thinking. It means we wish, we hope
this will improve our English, because it feels fun, it
feels easy to watch a movie. But the truth is using
a movie in this way does not help, unless you’re very,
very, very advanced. Just watching a movie in English will not help your English. Why? Why not? Because you will not
understand most of it, and if you don’t understand,
you are not learning. I learned zero Spanish watching
movies in Spanish class. None. Zero. Nothing. It was a complete
wasted hour of time. If you simply put in
a movie and watch it, you’re also just
wasting your time. Again, unless you’re
very, very advanced. And if you’re advanced,
if you’re very advanced, if you understand
most of the movies, most of the TV shows
you watch in English, well, congratulations,
you’re doing a great job. But for most people, just
watching a movie like that, it’s a waste of time. So should we forget
about movies? Should we forget about TV shows? No. In fact, TV shows and movies are possibly a very, very powerful tool for improving your
English speaking. Much, much, much
better than a textbook. You know, I hate textbooks because in textbooks the English
– it’s not real, it’s fake. “Hello, how are you? “I’m fine. And you?” Who talks like that? Nobody talks like that. But in movies, movie
English is much, much closer to the real English we
use in the United States when we talk to our friends, when we’re at work, at our jobs, when we’re on the street
chatting with people, when we go to a restaurant. Movies and television
shows show you a much more real
kind of English. Movies and TV shows
have slang and idioms that we use all the time. They have very,
very useful phrases. Perhaps the most
important of all, movies and TV shows
have real pronunciation. It’s how we really
pronounce words and phrases. We push some words
together, we cut some words, some words we stretch
and make longer. All of the real English speaking
that we use in real life you can get from movies
and television shows. So how do we use them correctly? How do you use them so
you could really learn, you actually improve
your English, not waste an hour of time
or two hours of time? Well, you do it by using The Effortless English
Movie Technique, which I will teach you right after I answer a
few Twitter questions. When we come back, I will
tell you exactly step by step how to use a movie
or a television show to improve your English
speaking and listening. But first let’s go to a
few Twitter questions. Twitter question time. Well, this is a good question. “AJ, which series or TV shows
do you recommend us to watch “for learning English?” Great question! Perfect for our topic. I don’t have just
one to recommend, because it depends
on you, right? If you love crime
shows, for example, then you should
watch crime shows. But what if you
hate crime shows, well, then don’t watch them. Maybe you prefer
something more light, something more romantic,
something a little funnier. So I won’t tell you
exactly what to watch, but I will tell you which
types of TV shows or movies are best for you. So, the best kinds are modern. First of all, they
need to be modern. Modern means they’re in
this time period in history. They can be a little bit
old like from the 1980s, or ’90s, or 2000s, that’s okay – if you want something
a little older for a movie or a TV show. You do not want
a movie, however, about the far past. For example, an obvious example, you don’t want a movie about
Shakespeare’s time period, or an actual Shakespeare movie. You don’t want that. Why not? Because that kind of English,
it’s not normal anymore. Right? That old style of English,
we don’t use it anymore. Some of those old British
movies about the 1900s, the British Empire. Some people might like them,
they may be kind of romantic, but the style of
speaking is very strange for this time period, we don’t talk like that anymore. So you don’t want that
for learning English. You can do it if you just
enjoy it for entertainment, but for English learning
it needs to be something more recent,
something about now. Recent history. Secondly, I recommend avoiding certain
kinds of comedy. For example, sitcoms. They’re called
situation comedies, or sitcoms, in
the United States. Some of them, some
of them are okay, but some of them can be
very difficult to understand if you’re not American. It’s not the language
actually, it’s the culture. Because some of those shows,
some comedies make jokes about our American culture, what’s happening in
American culture now. If you don’t know
about American culture, you will not
understand the joke. It’s not really an
English problem, it’s just that you
don’t understand it. For example, I might watch a
show from Australia, a comedy, and some of them, I might
not think they are funny, I might not
understand the jokes, just because I’m not
Australian, I don’t know about Australian culture, or
Australian current events, or Australian pop culture. So I might not find it so funny. So something modern. Dramas tend to be
a little bit easier and better for English learning. Romantic comedies
are usually good. There’re also good
movies or TV shows. So those types of shows
or movies are best. Let’s take another Twitter
question, shall we? “Does avoiding error
correction strengthen “our bad habits in speaking?” From Jaronsky from Poland. I know her very well. Also a good question. As you know, if you follow me
on Periscope or on Twitter, you know I recently did a
video about error correction. I told you to avoid
it, to not ask someone to correct your errors. So, Jaronsky’s worried that if she avoids error correction maybe she will create
bad habits in speaking. That’s a good thing
to worry about. Because if you don’t improve, indeed you might
develop some bad habits. How do you avoid that? How do you continue to
improve your grammar, your pronunciation,
the words you know? You do it by focusing
on what you want, as I said in my Periscope video, and by stydying and
paying attention to native speakers, and also paying
attention to what you do. For example, you
can study movies. Study the phrases that the
actors use in the movie; study the vocabulary
they use in the movie; study especially
their pronunciation. Then compare your pronunciation, compare your vocabulary,
compare your grammar to theirs. You don’t need
someone telling you you’re wrong all the time, you can compare your
speaking to theirs. For example, you could record
yourself using a webcam, using a phone, using
a little recorder – anything you want. Record yourself
speaking English. I’ll talk a little
more about this when I talk about
the movie technique. But record yourself, then listen
to yourself speak English, then listen to the American
actors speaking English. Compare. When you do this, you
will hear a difference, and your brain will
naturally understand what you’re doing wrong,
how you need to improve without stress. You will hear the difference
and you’ll start to improve, start to get closer and closer to the American pronunciation,
the American use of grammar, etcetera. In this way you do
it in a positive way focusing on what you want,
focusing on the native speakers. All right, let’s go back, shall
we, to the movie technique. Time for me to teach you
exactly how to use movies and television shows to
improve your English. Step one. Perhaps the most important. Watch the whole movie and then – so just watch the whole movie,
just to get a feeling for it. That’s kind of step
zero, introduction step. Just watch the whole movie
as you would do before: watch it all, do the best
you can to understand it. You could use even subtitles
in your own language just to understand
what’s happening. That’s kind of
your pre-homework. But step one, the major
part of the movie technique, is choose the first scene, the
first two or three minutes, and watch only that. Not the whole thing,
only the first scene. Turn on the subtitles or
the captions in English – not your language, English
subtitles or English captions. Watch only the
first few minutes. You can read along. As you listen and read along, write down any words or
phrases that you don’t know. Then stop after three minutes, or pause after the first scene. Two or three minutes – pause. You now have a list of new
vocabulary, new phrases. Use your little web dictionary, your little phone dictionary,
or iPad – whatever, and find the meaning of those
new phrases and new words. What do you do next? You go to the next scene, do you watch the
rest of the movie? No, you do not. What you do is you rewind back to the beginning of scene one; you review your vocabulary
with the meanings, so you understand the meaning; then you watch it again
for the second time. Just the first
scene, played again. Subtitles still on,
English subtitles. Watch it again, the first scene. Those new words will pop out, you will notice them more now because you wrote them down. After the scene
ends, pause again. Review your vocabulary list
quickly – just quickly, don’t try to memorize it,
don’t make a lot of stress. It’s not a test, you’re not
trying to memorize everything, just review, quickly review
the new words and phrases. Any ones you don’t remember,
review the meaning. Relax. It should take maybe
one minute to do this. Then what do you do? You guessed it? Rewind again back
to the beginning, play again just the first scene. Again those new
words will pop out, you’ll hear them, you’ll
hear the actors saying the new phrases and words, and you remember most of them. Even after just three times
you will remember the meaning of most of them. Now, on this first
day rewind again, repeat this a few more times – two, three, four,
five times maybe. Just the first scene. And relax, your day is finished
for the movie technique. Stop. You’re done with
the movie for today. Tomorrow it’s time again. What should you do? Watch the whole movie? No. Again you will just
focus on the first scene, the same first scene. This time turn
the subtitles off. No subtitles. Not in English, not
in your language. Start the scene, play
the whole thing again, just two or three minutes. Listen very carefully. You’ll hear all those
new words and phrases, you should remember most. Pause at the end of the scene. Review your vocabulary list
again that you wrote down. Maybe a couple of
them you forgot – relax, no big deal,
that’s normal. But you review them – Ah!
– and you remember them. What do you do? You guessed it. You rewind, play the
same scene again. No subtitles this time, just
listening very carefully. Now, this time you probably
will remember everything. And your listening is
getting better and better: you have now heard
the scene many times, you’re hearing the actors speak, and the speech and the speed is getting easier
and easier for you. Rewind again, play;
rewind again, play; rewind again, play. Again, four, five, six,
seven, ten times for the day. This only takes 15 – 20 minutes,
it’s all, it’s quite short. (claps) You’re done for the day. Congratulations! Good job! Day three. What do you do? Day three, now you
understand everything, right? You’ve listened to it
with subtitles in English, then you listened
with no subtitles, you reviewed all your
vocabulary list many times – you remember
everything, no problem. So day three, it’s time to focus on working on your
pronunciation. So day three, you start again at the
beginning of the same scene, the same beginning
scene, scene one. Play one sentence and pause. Then you repeat the sentence, try to copy the
actors’ pronunciation, say it the same way they say it. Then play the next
sentence, pause. Again, copy what the actors say. And then sentence by sentence
go through the whole scene, pausing and then you
saying the same line. Don’t just say it
mindlessly: ba-ba-ba. Use the same emotion
as the actors. Use the same pronunciation
as the actors. Listen very carefully to
how the actors are saying each word, each phrase,
each sentence, each line, and you say it exactly
the same as they do. Your day is done after you
do this three, four, five, seven, eight, ten times. Congratulations,
done for the day! The next day still scene one. Start at the beginning again. Now you’re going to shadow it. Remember the
shadowing technique? This time you’ll
do the same thing – copy what the
actors are saying – but no pausing this
time, no pausing. You might want to turn on the
English subtitles for this the first time. You might want to turn
on so you can read, it’ll help you a little. So you turn on the English
subtitles and you play, and the actors at the scene,
they all start talking. You, in a loud voice
you say exactly what the actors are
saying at the same time. At the same time. No pausing this time. So, you’re hearing
the actors speak, you’re saying what
they’re saying at
exactly the same time – or trying to. Of course, actually you’ll be
a little behind the actors, but try to be only a tiny bit
behind them, just a little. Again, you can use the
English subtitles a few times if this helps you. You play it, you rewind; you
do it again, you rewind – shadowing each time, rewind. Play and shadow, rewind;
play and shadow, rewind, play and shadow. Again, six, seven,
eight, nine, ten times. The next day – on to
the next scene, right? No. You’re learning
the scenes deeply, you’re mastering the English,
completely mastering it. So what do you do? Again you’re going to shadow. This time no subtitles,
no reading at all, just hearing and speaking
at the same time. Again, start at the
beginning of the scene, play and speak along
at the same time, copying what the
actors are saying. Use their same emotion,
use their same voice, because this is a video even
use the same actions they do. If they’re smiling when
they speak, you smile; if they look like they’re
sad, you look like you’re sad. Use the same face, use the
same gestures with your hands, body movements – everything. Copy everything the
actors are doing. Especially their voices. You play the whole scene
and speak at the same time shadowing them,
rewind, do it again; rewind, do it again;
rewind, do it again; rewind, do it again –
six, seven, eight, nine, ten times or more. Finally, the next day –
this is an optional step, the optional step. The next day you can do
this again – shadowing, but record yourself. Record yourself
while you shadow. So you play the movie, and then you have a recorder
next to your voice – you’re speaking loudly – and you speak along with
the actors at the same time recording yourself as you do it. When you get to the end
stop the movie, pause it, stop the recorder. Rewind the movie. Listen to the scene again,
listen to the actors – no talking, just
listen to the actors. Play it all again
two or three minutes. Pause. Then play your recording,
rewind and play your recording. Listen to yourself, compare
yourself to the actors. How close are you? Do you sound like they do? Do you have the same rhythm? Do you have the
same pronunciation of these different
words and sounds? Does the emotion sound the same? Is the speed the same? No, of course, you will not
be exactly like the actors. Of course not. But how close are you? And what’s different? Notice what’s different. That tells you automatically
how you need to improve. Just by comparing your
brain will understand what you need to do. You don’t need to get
stressed about it, you don’t need to
worry about it, don’t be upset,
relax, it’s okay. Let your brain do the work. It will automatically
help you improve just by comparing the difference
between you and the actors. After all of this
you’re finally ready to go to scene number two, the next little
piece of the movie. And then you will repeat
this entire technique, this entire process,
all of the process. Repeat all of the steps again with scene number
two in the movie. And then repeat all
of these steps again with scene number three
and scene number four, slowly going through
all of the movie. Will this be slow? Of course. Maybe you need a few months
to finish just one movie, but you’re not doing
this for entertainment, you’re doing this to
improve your English. So after those three months you will master
that entire movie. You will learn all
of the vocabulary, all of the phrases
in that movie. Your listening ability
will be so much better, huge improvement. Your speaking and pronunciation
will be much faster, much more natural, more fluent and a much clear accent. All of this – huge improvements. Gigantic, huge improvements
to your English listening and your English
speaking, your vocabulary, your spoken grammar – all of
it will get much, much better by using this technique. So go slowly. This is how you properly, powerfully use
movies and TV shows to improve your
English speaking. This is the way to do it. Not the way my Spanish
teacher did it, not the way those other
English teachers do it – just play, and watch, and
fall asleep (snores), no. Use this movie technique –
you will get powerful results. In fact, just this
weekend, last weekend, our VIP member Max from
Italy – some of you know him, he talked about how
much he has improved now by using the movie technique
and watching television shows. He is watching TV shows now. He’d finished
watching Breaking Bad, which a famous TV
show, American TV show, and he’s watching
other TV shows now. And he said in the beginning
it was very difficult, but now he understands
most of it. So he’s made big,
big improvements using the movie technique. You will also. All right, guys. Finally, let’s talk
about our Code, very important Code
of Effortless English. The Code is, it’s our guide, it’s what creates this
amazing international family of Effortless English. It’s why we have people
from so many countries around the world, wherein
we’re all friends together, we’re all friendly
to each other. Even though we’re
all so different, it doesn’t matter. It’s because we all
follow the Code. What is the Code? The Code is very simple. Number one. We do the best we can. We do the best we can. It means we try to do our best. Of course we will make mistakes, of course we will have problems. We relax about that, it’s
okay, we do the best we can. Number two. We do the right thing. We do the right thing. We don’t cheat each other. We do not insult each other or say mean, bad
things to each other. Also this means – we
do the right thing – it means here in
Effortless English we do not talk about
politics or religion. You can talk about politics,
you can talk about religion on your own Facebook
page, your own Twitter, your own website, but
we don’t do it here. The reason we don’t do that here is because politics and religion
just cause a lot of fights when people are from
different countries and different religions, so we don’t do it here,
we do the right thing. And number three, I think
the most important one. We show people we care. We show each other we care. It means we’re positive, we’re saying nice
things to each other. When a member of Effortless
English has success we congratulate them,
we’re happy for them. When a member of Effortless
English is having problems, they’re feeling bad,
we encourage them,
we’re nice to them, we help them. We show each other we care. Very, very important. That is the Code of
Effortless English, that is what makes our
international family special. Thank you very much for joining. As always, go to to join one of my
English courses. See you next time!

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