Netflix and education?

For as long as I remember, television was a vital part of my life.  Being raised in a Spanish-speaking household and for most of my toddler and elementary life, I had a greater dominance in speaking Spanish over English but television did help in me developing my English comprehension. For me, television was not something I watched for entertainment, but it became a learning experience. I cannot begin to count the number of times I sat in front of a television and would go to school the next day and ask other classmates what certain words meant and how they would use it in sentences. I remember particularly being fond of the word “cheese” (God knows why). Over time, with months of speech therapy and countless episodes of educational program, my English did improve but I kept relying on television. When I began steering away from educational program and started watching cartoons and drama shows, I would always pay attention to certain words characters said and would look up the definition of the word or examples of how the word was used (and I still do it to this day)

As I began high school and ultimately college, I began relying on television less obviously heavier workloads took me away from watching the latest VH1 episode or an E! News segment. I became more interested in entertainment and celebrity news. I began losing grip of using television as a learning experience.

The nail on the head was when my parents said they were getting rid of my cablebox (since I was in college 98% of the time and was never home). Now TV-less, I had to find another mode that would satisfy my urge. I didn’t want to watch things illegally or pay per episode online and thats when I discovered Netflix and ultimately Hulu.  Streaming movies and episodes of different shows was something so foreign to me. I now felt as if I had control over my education. From watching the latest season of the trending show on television to a documentary on the John F. Kennedy assassination, I finally felt now in control of what I wanted to on television. It gave me more accessibility in learning, where now I didn’t have to just watch whatever was on the television or scroll through channel guide to see what day they’ll show the a documentary or educational programming.

So far, I’ve been “dependent” on using these streaming services for a few months to watch a variety of programs at my own leisure.


-Carlos Zapata


  1. I think it’s incredibly interesting how you credit the medium of television for being your source of lingual education. Do you think our government should possibly invest in some sort of lingual education on television? A great example of this would be the toddler show, Dora the Explorer. Do you think a more complex version of a Dora the Explorer for adults would be effective?

  2. Your post reminds me of myself. As a bilingual student with English as my second language I can relate to the way you are describing television as a learning tool. I too used television as a way to create a better and broader understanding of the English language. It is interesting to see the correlation between the knowledge of a language with the genre of television one choses to watch.

  3. Your post is very interesting. This kind of relates to me with Spanish. I’ve taken Spanish since 6th grade and I always wanted to be fluent. I am great when it comes to writing it but speaking I get a little nervous and get tongue tied. My freshman roommate, Gresis, helped me by speaking to me only in Spanish on some days and me only responding in Spanish. She also made me listen to strictly Spanish music and watch movies in Spanish with English subtitles. I have to admit these things did have a increase my learning.

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