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How to learn more from short videos. Part 2 – Watching for the first time

Now it’s time to watch. Do it in one go without subtitles or pausing for checking new words. This, indeed, is to help you develop the skills of

  • being comfortable with the fact you don’t understand everything (especially if you panic when you miss a word);
  • getting used to the pace of speaking (especially if you think that people speak too fast in English);
  • keeping focus even if you don’t understand parts of the video (yes, it’s a separate skill);
  • doing the guessing work (once you relax, you’ll be surprised how much can be understood by the context and with the help of the picture);
  • trying to remember what’s clear and what’s not. In this case you’ll be able to keep something that puzzles you in your memory and deal with it later (for example, it may be one of the key words).

I believe these skills are crucial for learning any language. And I think it makes sense to start learning then with short videos because then your frustration doesn’t build up too much. (Then you continue with longer videos.)

Otherwise, If you mostly work with a book and are used to understanding its audios very well, if you mostly speak with your teacher who adapts their speech to you, you may get a wrong feeling that “everything should be correct and clear”.

But in real life it is usually not the case. In real life, you’ll find yourself in a messy language environment where speech and texts are not adapted to your level. And you may need to respond to them. If you panic as soon as you don’t catch something, it’s not helpful.

I’ve seen many students switching off and starting to get nervous, frustrated and upset when they didn’t understand something (especially excellent students, perfectionists and bosses). And I came to the conclusion that the only solution is to calm down and learn to get comfortable with the unknown. That’s why I’m stressing this so much.

After you’ve watched the video, ask yourself this:

How much did you understand? It actually applies to both the content and language. If it’s less than 50%, the further work with the video might prove to be too difficult and discouraging. Maybe, it’s better to switch to another one then, that’s totally fine.

Did the video meet your expectations? Is it still worth your time and effort? If not, again, it’s up to you – stay to work on your listening skills and new vocab or move on.

What structure does the video have? What main points are covered? Try to make a preliminary plan. It will help you with further watching.

Again, you can answer these questions in the comments (or share any other ideas).


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