I’m gonna watch TV anyway

I have a lot of stuff to do today. I’m gonna watch TV anyway.

My to-do list includes creating two conference presentation proposals, making the final edits on an article, tutoring a doctoral student in our final session before she takes her comprehensive reading exams tomorrow, preparing for tonight’s session of a course I teach about language teaching, and finalizing the flow of ten hours of on-site teacher development at a school later this week. Oh, and writing this blog post.

I’m gonna watch TV anyway.

I also plan to exercise and to spend a bunch of time with my kids on my last evening home until Saturday.

I’m gonna watch TV anyway.

Why? Because I’m committed to becoming highly proficient in Spanish, and what I’ll be watching is Gran Hotel.

One of the best things about acquiring a language–and one of the best ways of acquiring a language–is enjoying the content available in that language. You need to encounter tons of suitable content in order to acquire the language, which won’t happen unless you generally stick to your language-encountering habits (supplemented by opportunistic language learning), and that’s unlikely to happen unless you enjoy the content of the language you’re encountering. I enjoy Gran Hotel.

So, if you’re a language learner, go ahead and watch those shows, read those comics, listen to those songs!

If you’re a teacher, you can justify consuming large amounts of target language content, too–in fact, it’s hard to justify not doing so–both to expand your own facility with language and cultures and in order to identify content suitable for your students. (By “suitable” I mean “matched to their proficiencies and interests.”) For them, as for me, frequent, extended, enjoyable encounters with content in the language will be a driving force in their acquisition of the language. In fact, sheer enjoyment of the content itself may often be the only thing that keeps students interacting with the language.

Okay, now I’m gonna go watch TV.

Posted in Learning, Teaching and tagged , , , , , .


  1. I LOVE Gran Hotel. So great to learn with and really well produced. My Spanish ends up being a little lisp-laden when I practice, but oh well. I WISH so badly that resources like that existed for Latin, or if they do, that I knew where to find them!

    • I’m loving it so far, too! I’ve been eager to watch it for a long time, but wanted to finish El Internado first. Do you recommend any other Spanish language shows?

      Probably the closest for Latin is Pacifica, by SaMoHi Latin media, but that’s still only four half-hour episodes. I shudder, in the best of ways, to think how good all our Latin would be if there were Gran Hotel-quality shows in the eternal tongue!

  2. Hi! Love your blog! I love using TV as homework to get my college kids excited. We are now watching a Telenovela and they love it.

    I also came across this study about how incredibly useful closed captioning can be, http://gettingyourkidstoread.com/2015/04/13/cc/ even to help children learn to read!

    I am planning on doing more research in this area, as I find it fascinating.

    I actually came to this country when I was 17 as an exchange student and I can attest that I learned more with General Hospital than anything else!

    Thanks again for a great post.

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