Wednesday, January 03, 2007

TV or Not TV? [!]

As a lot of you probably made “study English” or “study English more” one of your New Year's resolutions, I’ve decided to recommend a few TV shows that might help you out. Actually, I don’t really believe that TV is a very good teacher. When you watch TV, your mind becomes very passive – the information just flows over you but you don’t really remember it. If you don’t believe me, think of the last time that you watched news on TV. Probably less than a day ago, right? OK, think of 3 stories from that program. You can’t do it, can you? There were definitely more than 3 stories covered in that broadcast but your brain doesn’t remember them. (This is also one of the reasons that watching TV news is not as important as all the TV companies want you to believe it is – but that’s another topic!)

However, even though I don’t think TV is a good teacher, I do think it’s good at reinforcing what you already know in a fun way. It’s important that you study a little English every day. In the long run, half an hour of study every day will have more effect than 3 to 4 hours of study only once a week. Watching interesting & fun English-content TV shows can help you to spread your study throughout the week – especially if you work hard to make your mind more active while you are watching!

You can start with “Eigo De Shabera Night!” Their usual broadcast time is Fridays, from 11:00 pm. They also have a great HomePage (Eigo De Shabera Night), where you can check out upcoming shows and transcripts of interviews from previous shows.
The Regular Cast of "Eigo De Shabera Night"

A great way to make watching the show more active is to cover the Japanese subtitles during the interview, and then check out how much you could understand by reading the transcript on the HomePage the next day. Then, choose a useful phrase or word from the transcript and write 3 new sentences using it.

One of my wife’s favorite regular guests on that show is hard-rocker Marty Friedman (click on his name to visit his HomePage). He’s going to be a regular presenter on a new show called “Jukebox Eikaiwa,” on NHK (channel 12) from 11:10 pm on Thursday nights. Marty and the other presenters are going to studying the meaning of famous song lyrics. I often do this is in Be & Me lessons – it’s a fun way to learn new words and phrases!

The Regular Cast of "Jukebox Eikaiwa"

Have fun! But remember: Don’t just sit there – get active!

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