What is your language level? Beginner? Intermediate? Advanced? Whatever your level is, we’ll explain how you can get the most benefit when you participate in the Language TV Club.
Frequently, we explain to people interested in the club that the best level for the TV club is around intermediate. However, both beginner learners and advanced learners can benefit from the club as well, with adjustments. Below we’ll explain to you how to support your participation in the Language TV Club to get all your money’s worth and then some, at whichever level you are in your target language.
Language TV Club members all join at different stages in their learning. This means that the club discussions cater to a wide range of needs and explore vocabulary at various levels, both in the Episode Guides (sent out before the discussions) and in the chat box during the discussions.
What is great about this range of abilities is that some members might have different stores of vocabulary than you do or use more complex grammar structures that you have learned but don’t yet use in conversation. Participants will likely speak at a rate that is slower than native speakers so you can understand everything and take note of these new words or grammar points. So it’s like you get this window into the different levels of the language, from the quick-witted show characters, to the advanced or native club host, to the intermediate learners, to the beginners. It’s a fantastic way to peer into the language and help you understand what your level might really be.
Now let’s dive into the ways that you can benefit the most from participating in the Language TV Club from any language level.
- Beginner -
As an upper beginner there is a lot you can do to support yourself in the Language TV Club, and you will get more out of it at this stage than if you were a true beginner.
The first suggestion is to make time to watch the episodes twice. (yes, twice!) You could watch once in your native language, then again in your target language. Now, we know that time is not everyone’s most abundant resource, so you could always use Language Reactor to show dual subtitles, but watching twice does wonders.
Second, use the Episode Guide! Make sure to take notes with this guide. Write down your responses to the questions before the meetings. Be sure to write down any vocabulary words that you might need to explain your point. Write sentences with the new vocabulary words OR use the timestamps to go back to the words and write down the actual sentences used in the show.
Finally, a really great way to make more improvement and have better participation in the club is to have a private lesson before the discussions each week. Meet with a teacher or tutor (there are plenty to be found on italki) and discuss the themes and related words. Ask about any grammar concepts that are new to you. Practice answering the questions in this 1:1 space. You will then have more confidence when answering these questions with the group and the extra practice will solidify these concepts in your brain.
As an early beginner, you may mostly just be able to listen to the discussions and watch the show with dual subtitles. We highly recommend that you have beginner lessons as well if you are going to be participating in the club. You will likely not learn from the club like you would from a lesson because much of the material will be above your understanding. Let your host know that you will mostly just be listening during the discussions, or let the whole group know when you start. You can still enjoy the club, but you may not learn as much as you would from a tailored lesson.
Early beginners have joined the Language TV Club before, but the club is not really designed for beginners. So if you are a beginner and really want to join, just let your host know your level and focus on listening to the conversation and learning from your fellow members.
- Intermediate -
This is a great level, because you can already have a conversation, but may still be nervous to speak with native speakers or are missing important vocabulary. Intermediate learners gain the most from this club, because they get listening practice from the episodes and their fellow members and speaking practice from chatting during the discussions.
Intermediate level speakers also get a chance to practice writing with the Episode Guide, to summarize what happened in the episodes. This is a great opportunity to practice new grammar concepts or new vocabulary words in a slow, purposeful way.
To get the most out of the club at this level, be sure to practice the vocabulary words from the Episode Guides. These words are typically most appropriate for intermediate learners (and sometimes advanced). It is important to review the words at regular intervals. Some members have used the words to create Anki decks. You can also try to use the words during the discussion.
Another thing worth your try is going back to re-watch the episodes without subtitles. Did you understand most of it? Did you pick up on the new vocabulary words? Maybe now you’re understanding the plot or catching tiny details a bit more than you did the last time. Sometimes, watching the show after the club’s month is complete can be helpful to review all of the vocabulary words and strengthen those tracts in your brain.
Ever hear of the intermediate plateau? Yeah, this club will help you turn that back into a hill or mountain that you are steadily climbing to reach an advanced level.
- Advanced -
Advanced learners also benefit from the Language TV Club, for different reasons. Many of the shows we watch include slang or fringe vocabulary terms that advanced learners are looking for. In addition, you’ll often find idiomatic expressions and cultural references that help make some of the things you hear make sense, such as the phrase “cut me some slack” in English.
Practicing speaking is always helpful, no matter your level. Advanced learners may also try watching the show without subtitles and writing complex summaries about what happened, to get more out of the club. Even language teachers and interpreters have joined the club in order to better understand today’s colloquial terms or gain vocabulary in a specific area. Many have found it to be an enriching way to continue learning after their college courses are complete.
Advanced learners get an opportunity to learn from the show and the moderator, while helping their fellow members who are at lower levels. You know, they say the best way to learn is to teach!
- All levels -
No matter your level, it is important to keep up with the episode schedule and use the Episode Guide to your advantage. Print out the guide, take notes, write sentences and make it your own.
Use the private online group to ask questions of your fellow members and club host. Maybe there is a certain phrase or cultural reference that you didn’t understand. Ask your group! They probably have a good resource to help explain it a bit further. The groups were created for this reason. Sometimes there is not enough time during the discussion to go down a rabbit-hole about the origin of an idiomatic expression, so the online group is the perfect place to talk about this. It’s also a great place to get to know your fellow members. Maybe you want to learn about how they have studied in the past or their travels to the country. Go ahead and ask! Maybe you will make a new friend.
*While there are definitely advantages to having members from all different levels participating in the group, there are a few things to keep in mind. To be respectful and understanding to your fellow participants, you should always share speaking time. Your club host can help with this, but it is important for each individual to take some responsibility. Also, if you are more advanced and your club host chooses to explain a talking point in a simpler way to other members, it would benefit you to have a bit of patience. As we’ve seen above, both beginners and advanced level members can benefit from the club, but it’s important to recognize that everyone is coming from a different stage of learning.
Finally, have fun! The Language TV Club is meant to be a fun experience for everyone. Be kind and helpful to your fellow members, respect different perspectives, and enjoy the show!