Thank you to one of our student’s, Zsolt, for his insight into using TED as a tool for learning English.
I came to Australia 3 years ago and I believe that learning English is one of the most important activities every day. Without speaking proper English, it is very difficult to get by and also it is very challenging to make new friends if you cannot express yourself. I have to use English every day and sometimes just trying to speak properly makes me very tired by the end of the day. When I talk to my friends, I can see that using the language properly greatly influences how you feel in this country. Unfortunately I have seen many examples that someone has been living here for 10-15 years and despite this long time, he or she cannot speak properly. What can we do if we do not want lose our enthusiasm for learning English? We have to find new ways every day, new methods, new topics to keep ourselves motivated.
One of the new ways of learning I have come across recently is TED. (Technology, Entertainment, Design – www.ted.com). TED was founded in 1984, it is a non-profit organization and it spreads new ideas through short lectures and presentations, topics cover technology, entertainment and design. You can find a lot of inspiring and also entertaining presentations there, and they are not longer than 15-20 minutes. But what does it have to do with learning English? Since 2009 the presentations have had subtitles, currently in about 100 languages translated by volunteers. The video lectures can be watched both in English and your own language, at the same time! There is an app for iPhones or Android, a media player where you can switch on any of the subtitles, English only, your own language or both language subtitles simultaneously. You can set the player to play a section multiple times, or you can set it to ‘repeat’ mode when one sentence is repeated 2-3 times. You can move forward or back by touching the screen on the left or right, sentence-by-sentence if you want to, or also you can stop the lecture at any time. I have found an app called Ted Me (Android) the most useful; however, it does cost some money, $ 1. It is well worth it!
I use TED regularly every week and I think that I have learnt a lot just by listening to the presentations and reading English and Hungarian subtitles together. My listening skills have definitely improved; I keep repeating a sentence until I fully understand it. I can recognize more words in everyday language as well. Try and experiment with it!