What’s the secret to communicating confidently in English?
- …downloading the perfect app?
- …finding the right teacher?
- …applying some kind of magic method?
What if it was as simple as this: using language is being human. We forget this important point, because we take speaking our native language for granted – it’s so natural and normal that we don’t even think about it.
But every day, when we use language, we’re being humans. And humans are the ultimate social species. Even in highly individual industrial societies, we live in community. We need other humans to survive. Our fundamental nature is to be co-operative and altruistic.
And the glue holding our social species together is language.
Thanks to language we can bond with one another, build relationships, make plans for the future, and organise our societies.
So that’s why the “secret” to communicating confidently in English is using it in a community with people who are passionate about the same things. In this case, the community is “Movie Club” and one of our longest-running members Cinzia is here to talk about the benefits of communicating in English in a group of film lovers.
Over to you Cinzia.
Can you tell us a bit more about where you’re from and your background?
Cinzia: Sure. I am Cinzia and I live in northern Italy. I am an employee. I don’t use languages at work and it frustrates me a little bit as I can’t train it as part of my life. By the way I have a nice hobby, that looks like a second job, that is to take groups of Italian tourists abroad. At least during this experiences I can use languages more, luckily.
Cara: It’s great that you have a way to use English in your life, even if it’s not day to day in your job. Real life use and regular practice really are the key. And if you don’t have them, then you need to find a way to create them.
Why are you learning English?
Cinzia: To travel, to sing, and even to watch movies, video and things that are not translated in my language. Mainly to be able to communicate even when I am talking to someone who cannot speak Italian.
Cara: English is certainly handy as an international language. I also like the way that it helps you with your signing.
Can you describe in your own words what the Leo Listening Movie Club is?
Cinzia: The Movie Club is a very cool opportunity to improve your listening and understanding of English. It is a fun monthly appointment with other people having your same goals.
Cara: Having the same goals is key. We don’t just meet up to talk about random topics, we come together to discuss a movie we all watched and that we’ve been discussing and working on for a month!
Does participating in “Movie Club” help you feel connected to others? If so, how?
Cinzia: Of course. We talk about movies – sharing impressions, opinions and we even discuss the difficulties we have (or not) with a particular accent or way of speaking.
Cara: Yes! It’s a safe space where you can share your views. And you’re encouraged to talk about your struggles. Usually, if one person found a particular character or accent difficult, everyone does. Knowing this helps you to feel less alone.
Some of our discussions are about quite deep topics such as death, racism and more. How do you feel about being able to have those kinds of conversations that go beyond superficial, small-talk subjects?
Cinzia: That makes me feel I am reaching my goals about being more confident in expressing myself in the English language.
Cara: Good point. If you’re able to talk about these kinds of topics, then it’s a good sign that you’re gaining confidence in English, which brings me to my next question…
How has the club improved your English?
Cinzia: I hope it has! You should ask Cara 🙂 She’s the one that can say it. During the 4th part of the movie monthly run, she’s watching us behind the scene, while we discuss the movie in pairs. 🙂
Cara: That’s true – I’m there to listen (mostly) as you discuss the movie together. I remember you saying that before you joined you were a bit nervous about the discussion in week 4, because you weren’t sure that you were good enough to speak with the others. This is a common fear about speaking another language. But since then, I think you’ve seen that there’s nothing to worry about!
What’s the best part of “Movie Club” and why?
Cinzia: I would say the final part, when we discuss the movie together, but I enjoy watching the clips and trying to write down what I understand too. Sometimes I get many things, sometimes I get nothing, but it helps me to understand why, when I check the transcription. As said above, sometimes accents makes it more challenging, but it is useful to recognise some of them as next time I’ll be able to recognise it (maybe 🙂
Cara: The live discussion is definitely a highlight, along with the watch parties. And yeah it’s important to keep training your listening, as movies will always have bits of dialogue that are hard to catch or tricky accents. That’s why working on clips from the movie is such an important part of the club.
If you had to recommend it to a friend, what would you say?
Cinzia: That it is different from any other traditional way of learning. It is more practical than school, without need to go so far to train. You can just stay in front of your TV or mobile. You develop both listening and talking skills, that are so important to communicate, but left behind in traditional schools.
Cara: I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed being part of the club and that joining the community has helped you become a more confident communicator.
Want To Join “Movie Club” Too?
In “Movie Club” you watch movies with other film lovers like you, build confidence in your listening skills and become more natural in conversations with structured, smart, regular practice.
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