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Is English Shadowing really effective?



English Shadowing

English Shadowing: Hasn’t it been multiple years since you started studying English, but still having difficulty talking to native speakers? As the number of users increases in watching OTT platforms such as Netflix and Watcha, the English Shadowing method using English content such as American and British series is rising as a hot trend.

It is an easy way to study English because it allows you to study easily while watching interesting content that you enjoy. Let’s take a look at what English Shadowing is and how it can work effectively.

What is English Shadowing?

“Shadowing” is a study method of following native speakers nearly at the same time like a shadow, without having much time difference. As such, shadowing is a learning method that mainly focuses on various video content such as dramas, movies, and YouTube.

Recently, as the English shadowing method using Netflix has become popular, more and more people are using Netflix as a learning platform for English shadowing. Why is the English shadowing method so popular when it is just repeating exactly what the speakers say? English shadowing is very different from the learning method of memorizing words or phrases and solving questions to apply the memorized knowledge.

A variety of situations appear in dramas and movies, and you can practice listening while watching what the characters say in the situation. In addition, you can develop your ability to speak more naturally by following the lines of a native speaker. English shadowing method can be a little unfamiliar to someone. Does this actually work? Today, we will introduce the pros and cons, and effective studying methods to explore the effectiveness of English learning.

Advantages of English Shadowing

Shadowing is a study method of imitating native speakers almost at the same time. Is it really effective? Some may question the effectiveness of studying by just following along. Therefore, I would like to start by introducing the advantages of studying by English shadowing.

First, pronunciation correction at once!

If you do not live in a country where people speak English as their first language, it is almost impossible to use English for an entire day in your daily life. So many people use content such as dramas and movies to learn English.

At this time, it is often distorted and learned the wrong pronunciation and accent that each person thinks. Shadowing is a learning method that imitates native speakers almost at the same time, so it has the advantage of being able to learn accent, emphasis, and speed of speaking.

Especially for those who are worried about pronunciation when speaking English, they can experience the effect of correcting pronunciation when learning using English shadowing. If you repeat the same lines over and over again, you will find yourself speaking almost like a native speaker.

Second, improving listening skills!

At the early stage of studying English, learning is conducted based on listening to clearly recorded voices slowly for the elementary and intermediate learners. However, when you actually talk to native speakers or listen to English content, you often can’t hear well.

This is because in most cases, learning materials for English learners do not fully reflect the actual speaking speed of native speakers or the speaking rate. How about learning through English shadowing? Not only can you get used to the actual speaking speed of native speakers, but you can also get used to the accent and emphasis of English spoken in many countries.

News uses relatively standardized pronunciation, but dramas and movies allow you to hear more diverse characters in English. In particular, various pronunciations such as Australian and British pronunciations as well as American pronunciations are being presented in the listening section in the official language proficiency test such as TOEIC.

Those who are familiar with American pronunciation-oriented English education can expect high scores in the official language proficiency test if they try shadowing with various pronunciation contents!

Third, a variety of learning materials!

As explained earlier, English shadowing is a learning method that imitates the words of native speakers using various content. Therefore, it is possible to learn using various video contents such as animation, news, interview, drama, and movie.

As the range of learning materials is wide, it is also important to choose materials that fit your English education level. For beginners, it may be more effective to use content with a clearer accent and less slang. If you want to learn high-level English expressions such as politics, society, economy and social issues together, shadowing using English news will be effective.

Depending on the learning goal, it changes what kind of learning materials you should choose to do English shadowing. If you want to learn a lot of slang and colloquial expressions from teenagers, you can choose a high teen movie. Or, if you want to learn British pronunciation, you can use British dramas or movies to shadow English.

Things to be careful of in English Shadowing!

Is there anyone who decided to try English shadowing in 2022 after seeing the advantages of English shadowing that we introduced earlier? English shadowing is indeed a great learning method, but as with all studies, English shadowing has a few things to be careful about. This time, I will introduce the disadvantages of English shadowing.

First, it can be difficult for beginners.

Recently, there are YouTube videos or pdf files that are created for English shadowing of certain dramas or movies, but shadowing can still be difficult for beginners to study on their own. When I do English shadowing, I usually rely on the lines of the characters in the video.

There is no additional textbook or content explaining the expression from the video. Therefore, beginner-level English learners may not know which expressions to select and memorize among the large amounts of expressions. In particular, if you try to memorize all the lines without considering the character’s special background, it can significantly reduce efficiency.

In the case of historical dramas or medical dramas or SF movies set in a certain era, there may be situations in which you memorize even less frequently used technical terms in real life. Before you start shadowing English, it is important to select content that fits your English learning level. Why don’t you start with an animation or a content that’s relatively slow in speaking on a non-complicated subject?

Second, it can be difficult to directly connect to improving conversation skills.

Ironically, using English shadowing in the wrong way may barely help you in improving conversation skills. What do you want to improve through English shadowing? As previously introduced in the advantages of English shadowing, we will start shadowing to achieve various learning goals such as correcting pronunciation or improving listening skills.

By the way, some people argue that if the goal of English shadowing is to improve conversation skills, it may be difficult to just follow the lines. In order for us to communicate with the other person in English, we need to be able to express our thoughts in English.

Then, it will be necessary to memorize more than a certain number of English expressions and store them in your head. In other words, if you are trying to shadow English to improve your conversation skills, you must memorize the expressions you want to use in real conversation. Remember that simply copying English shadowing may not help you improve your conversation skills!

Third, there is a lack of opportunity to test yourself.

There are many English shadowing studies and materials being created, but the fact that English shadowing is still studying alone remains unchanged. Listening and repeating the lines, and memorizing them, is a process that you have to do alone. If you proceed with English shadowing like this, there will be some disadvantages.

As I introduced in the previous section, in order to improve conversation skills, it is necessary not only to imitate lines but also to memorize them. It may be difficult to find out whether the expression I memorized is frequently used in real life or used only in professional and special situations.

In addition, the other disadvantage is that there is no opportunity to use memorized expressions directly with native speakers, and it is easy to forget if only memorization is repeated. If you go through the process of memorizing the expressions you used and applying them in conversations, it will stay longer in your memory. I can conclude that this is a disadvantage of studying English shadowing alone.

So far, we learned everything about English shadowing.

Shadowing is clearly a special study method that can improve pronunciation, conversation, and listening skills at once. The fact that you can learn using interesting English content is probably why many people think English shadowing is an attractive way to learn.

However, it is also very important to select the right level of difficulty for you and to actually use the learned expressions through conversation, not just memorise them alone. It is necessary to check whether the expression I used is actually the one that native speakers often use or use in the appropriate context.

In particular, if you use memorized expressions through conversations with native English teachers, you will be able to remember them for a long time. For those of you who have decided to start English shadowing in the new year of 2022, why don’t you study with native English teachers from AmazingTalker, the 화상영어 service?


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