When my advanced students tell me they want to improve their listening skills, I always tell them to listen to PODCASTS!
Podcasts are a fantastic way for your learners to improve their understanding of spoken English.
- They can listen to them WHEN YOU WANT and WHERE YOU WANT
- They don’t have any visual clues so they HAVE TO FOCUS ON WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING NOT WHAT THEY ARE DOING
YOUR LEARNERS SHOULD FIND A PODCAST THAT INTERESTS THEM
If they are not interested in the topic of a podcast, they will find it more difficult to listen to so MAY THINK THEIR LISTENING SKILLS ARE GETTING WORSE but they are probably JUST BORED!
Listen to podcasts about subjects which are INTERESTING, RELEVANT and USEFUL for them.If they want to be successful in the business world, listen to business podcasts. If they love football, they can listen to football podcasts.
(You can download 25BBCPodcasts as a pdf document here)
PODCASTS ARE GREAT FOR STUDENTS PREPARING FOR LISTENING EXAMS
Exposure to authentic English is essential for students who want to take advanced qualifications, such as the CAE, CPE or IELTS, and these podcasts will help you prepare for the listening parts of these tests. Pause and repeat to check your understanding.
PODCASTS ARE GREAT FOR STUDENTS PREPARING FOR SPEAKING EXAMS
Good podcast presenters are skilled speakers so listen to their pronunciation as a good model. Your learners can note down some of the phrases and expressions the presenters use to express ideas, give opinions and agree and disagree with other speakers.
The BBC has a fantastic collection of podcasts.
- Some of them are produced for an international audience so you can hear interviews with non-native speakers of English. These are usually found on the BBC World Service channel.
- Other podcasts are produced for a UK audience. These are ideal for those of you living in the UK or who want to live in the UK. Listening to British English speakers will make understanding English which is spoken in the UK easier. These are produced by BBC Radio 4 or Radio 5.
Here is a list of podcasts which may be useful for higher-level English learners.
BBC World Service
Learn new phrases about a variety of topics. (6 minutes)
Short podcasts about real English phrases or items of slang. (3 minutes) http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/tae
Learn the extraordinary truth about everyday actions. (18 minutes)
All about the latest digital technology. (30 minutes)
Great for practising short presentations and EAP students. Global thinkers present new political, cultural and scientific ideas. (7-8 minutes).
Best stories from around the world. (30 minutes)
Analysis of latest ideas and discoveries in science (25 minutes)
Good for medical professionals. (25 minutes)
BBC RADIO 4
This podcast examines policies and ideas. ( 30 minutes)
Interviews with famous and successful people about their lives and favourite music. (35 minutes)
Short reflections on topical issues (9 minutes)
Interviews with writers, artists, musicians, actors, and directors. (30 minutes)
Biographies of people making the news. (14minutes)
Interviews with real people in the UK. Great for listening to different British accents and learning about British culture (14 minutes)
Live debates about controversial topics. Great for developing your arguing skills so perfect for aspiring lawyers and politicians. (30 minutes)
Biographies of famous people. (27 minutes)
All about the English language. (28 minutes)
RADIO 5 LIVE
Entertaining film show with interviews with famous actors and directors. (90 minutes)
For football fans. (15-60minutes)
PODCASTS FOR BUSINESS ENGLISH LEARNERS
BBC World Service
Office-based about life in an office. Suitable for Intermediate learners. (7 minutes)
All about statistics. (10 minutes)
Great for Business English learners. Learn about global finance and the corporate world. (18 minutes)
Business Discussion programme. There is a UK edition and an International edition. Challenging for high-level Business English students.
Pop-up Economics. Entertaining Economics show. (14 minutes)
BBC RADIO 5
Business and Financial news. (24 minutes)
So, if you want to really improve your English, listen to a podcast in the gym, when you go for a run, while you’re doing housework, on the bus, train or in your car.
(Download 25 BBCPodcasts as a pdf here)