Okay, maybe it's not binge watching, but one of our favorite ways to engage our students is through -- you guessed it -- Netflix. We think you should, too.
In each level of our Spanish classes, we use an age-appropriate Netflix program, in the target language (TL) to end our week with Ver viernes, which, as I'm sure you've seen all over social media, is not a new concept. However, if this is something that you have not yet added to your repertoire, we highly recommend it. Here's why
Kids look forward to it
We've had kids tell us that a contributing factor to them staying in Spanish, and not taking other electives, was because they wanted to watch the show. Not in a "I-know-we-won't-be-doing-anything" way, but that they didn't want to miss it. Could they just find it on Netflix? Yes. But we don't remind them of that. We also have had kids tell us that they don't let their parents schedule appointments during class on Fridays, so they won't miss the show. That's a win!
This is the most important one to us. Input. The shows are engaging...way more engaging than the textbook dramas that we were exposed to as high school students that are used to demonstrate grammar and vocabulary that chronicled the life of what looked like a 40 year old woman parading around as a teen who was studying abroad. Because Second Language Acquisition research demonstrates that engagement enhances acquisition, we think that's a win. To increase the input that our students receive, we subtitle in Spanish, so they are able to back up their auditory processing with visual support. It's like getting double the input! Finally, it's important for our students to hear other voices in their 90% TL use...not just our own, so they can adapt to multiple accents in the future. The visual component makes the input mostly comprehensible, but also provides and opportunity to pause and circumlocute to make confusing dialog comprehensible. Our students have told us that watching el Internado (our favorite of all time) has helped them adapt when we've traveled.
It's what our kids do
Teens, in this day and age, don't watch TV like we used to. They access their programming on YouTube and Netflix, so this meets them where they are. Bonus, when kids do miss class, so many of them have personal Netflix access and can watch at home.
There are multiple programs on Netflix, and they don't seem to be going away. There are programs out of Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Colombia. There are comedies, dramas, mysteries, and movies, if that is what you prefer. It's important to us to use authentic material, which this clearly is! Check out our post on Language Development to add opportunities to inspire them to watch other shows and take in even more input in their own time.
Maybe the cultural nuances aren't super robust, but there are definitely differences in our shows and shows that are offered abroad. See the streets, food options, and many more things that will open our students' eyes to the world around them.
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