Nearly a Quarter of ESL Educators use Mr Bean to Teach English

23% of ESL (English as a second language) educators teach their students English by showing Mr Bean episodes during lessons, according to a new study.

Research by Kaplan International Colleges revealed that 60% of ESL teachers surveyed have used TV shows to enhance lessons and help students improve their understanding of the English language.

Kaplan discovered that Mr Bean was the television show most used by ESL teachers with 23% stating that they showed episodes of the British physical comedy series created by and starring Rowan Atkinson during lessons.

Mr Bean has such international appeal that he even made a guest appearance at the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. However, he rarely speaks so how can he help people teach English?

The comedy character is ideal for ESL teachers as in each episode he is presented with everyday tasks such as going to the dentist, taking an exam or eating at a restaurant. These scenarios are perfect for lesson plans that focus on vocabulary and grammar.

Katherine Senior, Executive Producer of Mr Bean, said: “Mr Bean has been popular for very many years both on television, video and in the classroom. This is due to the small amount of dialogue and the fact that it appeals to all cultures as it is easy to understand. The Mr Bean character is very well known internationally, currently with 38 million fans on Facebook.”

Mr Bean narrowly beat Friends into the second place as the American comedy was used 22% of ESL teachers. The Simpsons came third with 10%, while 6% used How I Met Your Mother and 3% taught English with the help of the British soap opera EastEnders.

Kaplan surveyed more than 500 ESL teachers from 40 countries to discover what tools they use to enhance their lessons. The results of Kaplan’s “How to Teach English” survey have been published as an infographic. The infographic page has quotes covering all aspects of the research.

Other survey results include:

  • 86% of ESL teachers surveyed have used music in class: The Beatles being the most popular band (used by 40% of those surveyed).
  • 81% have used English-speaking celebrities to engage students: Barack Obama being the most popular.
  • 76% have used Movies in class: The Harry Potter series being the most popular.
  • 75% have used Newspapers in class: The New York Times being the most popular.
  • 34% have used the Radio in class: The BBC World Service being the most popular.
  • 33% have used Comics in class: Spider-Man being the most popular.
  • 24% have used Computer Games in class: The Sims being the most popular.

Kaplan’s surveyed 503 ESL teachers from: the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Russia, India, South Korea, Turkey, Georgia, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Greece, Vietnam, Spain, Cuba, France, Taiwan, Thailand, Azerbajan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Mexico, Iran, Ukraine, Jamaica, Malaysia, Romania, Poland, Argentina, Czech Republic, Latvia,

In a previous study conducted in 2012, Kaplan found that Friends was the most popular television show for helping people learn English outside of the classroom with 82% of those surveyed claiming that watching TV enhanced their English language skills.

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