Living in the digital age has quite a few perks – especially when it comes to language learning. For instance, gone are the days when heavy textbooks were the only tools learners had at their disposal. Now, students can improve their English at the push of a button with digital resources such as podcasts. Podcasts are the perfect complement to English lessons and a great way to pick up some new vocabulary outside of class. To get your students started, we’ve rounded up the best five podcasts for English learners of all levels. Happy listening!
Let’s start with Learn English – a fantastic podcast from the British Council. The episodes are discussion-based and cover everyday vocabulary and situations. What’s more, “Learn English” offers a wealth of free support material. Not only can students download each episode’s transcript, but they can also take short quizzes to test their recently acquired knowledge. It’s the best way to retain all those new words and make lightning-fast progress.
Voice of America
Got learners who would like to improve their English while listening to current and interesting topics? Well, Voice of America: Learning English is for them. This information service has different kinds of audio programs that are narrated at a slower than normal pace. What’s more, each program caters to different interests. The “American Mosaic” program discusses pop culture in the United States – like new movies, for example. Meanwhile, history buffs will enjoy “The Making of a Nation”, which talks about U.S. history. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: additional programs focus on science and even grammar.!
6 Minute English
With its 6 Minute English podcast, the BBC has managed to create a fun way to learn English. The episodes are based on everyday situations and feature a discussion between two people, Nick and Alice. The topics are so entertaining (addressing questions like “Are bears back to stay?” or “How much is your spouse worth?”) that students forget they’re learning English. Plus, each episode has a transcript and a vocabulary list with definitions.
Podcasts in English
Podcasts in English is remarkable if only for its sheer variety. Indeed, the website offers a wealth of podcasts for every level. What’s more, the episodes are quite short – normally under five minutes – perfect for those pressed for time. They also address entertaining topics, which include such gems as “10 remarkable facts about the world cup” to “planking.” Plus, there’s a wide range of quality support material.
The English We Speak
In The English We Speak, the BBC focuses on idioms and expressions – one of the final steps in mastering the language. The podcast features a light conversation between two people who take up one fun and popular idiom every week. One of my favorite episodes focused on expressions like “eye candy” and “sweet tooth.” And the best part? Learners hear idioms used in context, which we all know is the best way to pick up new vocabulary and polish their English.
So there you have it! Next time a student asks you for tips to improve their listening and vocabulary outside of class, you can feel confident about recommending these five great podcasts for learning English.