Groucho Marx once said “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” 

Apparently the famous comedian underestimated the value and even the power that educational television has as part of learning a language. Just because someone opens a book does not mean that they will read it… On the other hand, when a television is on, whether or not you listen attentively, it plays a role in learning a language, especially vocabulary.

However, there remains a problem: How do people who want to learn a language find English-speaking Television channels? –Especially if people want to save the money that a trip to England would cost for instance, watching TV is a great way to learn without spending money-. The good news is that we were born in the twentieth century (even the twenty-first for some), and we are provided with a wonderful tool called the Internet, which allows us to stream videos and online TV. Doing so is hands down one of the best ways to learn english with television.

EN - Learn with the TV

How to learn English with Television in Three Steps

First Step : Choosing the Right Media to Learn English with Television

Access all the channels of the world, not with your remote control but with the Internet.

In short, beware of programs that require you to download a ton of programs on your computer, as generally these are accompanied by a number of smaller satellite programs (and hackers) that are potentially dangerous for your computer.

It’s best to instead focus on online platforms (or more simply, websites) that gathers television channels from around the world and provides them for free anywhere in the world.

Our Advice: The site FilmOn. It has an intuitive interface with fast speeds and gives you free access to all the channels of the world. You can even see (and listen) to music channels.

Second Step: Choosing the Channel

Yes, listening to foreign music videos is great, but perhaps there exists some channels that are more interesting. Channels that give you a different perspective on learning a language…

If you are new to learning English, we recommend that you start with global and international news channels such as BBC or Al Jazeera. You may think, “But the news is so boring!” This may be so, but the advantage of this type of news channel is that the journalists generally use simple and easily understandable language, with words that are pronounced in a clear manner (without an accent, or strange dialect). All the details given by the journalists may seem insignificant, but the important thing is that they are very useful for learning English.


Regarder la télé, lire l'actu (et voir la reine d'Angleterre) en direct, pratique !
Watch TV, read the news (and watch the Queen of England) live, practice!

Furthermore, the news simply gives the facts and so there is no room for journalist’s interpretations or personal reflections using informal vocabulary (which is more difficult to understand). Add to that the written news that scrolls across the bottom of your screen that is accompanied by the journalists speech (to ensure that what you heard is really what you read)… and you can understand why news channels our among our favorite tools for learning English. To have more fun, you can always follow a news channel that is dedicated to sports…

To end this section on the subject of news channels, the best English Television channel in the economic sector is without a doubt the American channel, Bloomberg. It is effective for learning technical English that is useful in the workplace.


Third Step : Cultivate Your Interests

Watch MasterChef US, and learn Gordon Ramsay’s vocabulary

The objective (see learning with Television) must of course remain to satisfy your cultural appetite. If I want to enjoy myself for example, I would without a doubt watch an episode of Narcos or Game of Thrones (in English, of course). If your biggest dream is to become a chef–or international taste tester– then you could for example watch Master Chef US on online TV or good old YouTube. In addition, even the informal vocabulary (not to say vulgar) of Gordon Ramsay may be useful during a visit to an Anglophone country. 

All of the fans of TV series and movies have the right to take pleasure in watching series/cult movies and learning English at the same time… consider pairing this article with the Best English Movies  and The Best American Series

The last big advantage of Internet sites like FimOn is that you can track ANY foreign television without territorial restrictions… even with stations that can’t be broadcast in France.

There you have it! Contained in this article is some great ways to learn English with Television. What are some movies or series that have helped you learn English? Comment below!