By Andrés Calderon – Student of the English Club
Can someone use Pop Culture to learn English? The world is being bombed with multimedia content that comes from the United States. Taking advantage of this factor can make a person improve her or his English communication skills. Several studies and research have proven that a regular person is capable of accomplishing this task. In this summary, you will find the best ways of applying Pop Culture, on a daily basis, as short classes of English.
Pop Culture (popular culture) refers to “traditions and material culture of a particular society. In the modern world, pop culture refers to cultural products such as music, art, literature, fashion, film, cyberculture, television, and radio that are consumed by the majority of a society's population.” (Crossman, 2019). Now, knowing what Pop Culture englobes, here are some of the best ways of taking advantage of it.
● Using the phone: Apps like YouTube become great tools when it comes to learning English. You can find from English classes, to blogs, music videos, and talks in English. By trying to understand or using the subtitles that YouTube provides, your vocabulary will start expanding in short notice.
● Movies: Watching a film, for most people, is better than reading a textbook. Even though a textbook will help you with grammar and vocabulary, there is nothing like listening to a native English speaker. It does not matter if you are listening to a British or an American film, being able to hear a natural conversation and putting effort into trying to understand will make a notable difference in your pronunciation and vocabulary.
Besides, streaming platforms are all over the internet. Some examples are Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and so many more. Changing the movie to its native language (you can add subtitles in English too) and doing this exercise is not that hard, but it will improve your skills.
● Podcast: “A podcast is an audio program, just like Talk Radio, but you subscribe to it in your smartphone and listen to it whenever you like.” (Gray, 2020) The same principle that applies to movies works just as fine with podcasts. Being able to listen to regular people’s conversations on your mobile device, computer, or tablet will give you the ability to understand the pace at which native speakers talk.
● Reading: If you are a book lover, you might just want to grab a book and jump right into it. But, if your English level is not that great, you will face some trouble understanding what it is inside. The main advice while reading to improve in a language is to read what you like to read. If you like to read comic books, biographies, fantasy... read that.
Those are just some examples of how you can start taking advantage of Pop Culture in your day by day. Rebecca Wagoner, a tutor in Voxy, an English academy, explains that “the goal in watching TV, movies, and videos in English is to help learners feel more comfortable understanding their second language. This comfort and familiarity will build a base on which learners gain confidence in speaking with native speakers.” (Wagoner, 2018). The tools are in the palm of your hands, do not worry about starting small. The results are almost guaranteed.
MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (www.ulacit.ac.cr), producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente Delfino.cr, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas. Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.
Crossman, A. (2019, December 9). How Did Pop Culture Originate? ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/popular-culture-definition-3026453
Gray, C. (2020, August 21). What is a Podcast? An Explanation in Plain English. The Podcast Host. https://www.thepodcasthost.com/listening/what-is-a-podcast/
Wagoner, R. (2018, December 4). Learning English Through Pop Culture. Voxy. https://voxy.com/blog/2016/11/rebecca-wagoner-learning-english-pop-culture/