Podcasts for English Language Learning and Practice 

Podcasts are a relatively new form of media but they can be a great resource for English language learning. “Podcast” is a combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcast.” Podcasting has become a popular way to create and share audio contentPodcasts are similar to radio programs in form, but they exist as audio files that can be played at a listener's convenience, anytime or anywhere (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast). 

Podcasts can be an excellent resource for English language learning and practice. Some advantages of podcasts: 

  • Convenience: Podcasts are usually free, and you can listen to them when and where you like (such as walking between classes or washing the dishes). It is worth noting that many podcasts include advertisements for products or subscriptions). 
  • Personalization: There is a huge variety of podcasts available, so everyone can find topics and formats that they are interested in. 
  • Language-input control: Using the playback features of the app, you can repeat episodes, slow down or speed up the recording, and you can often find transcripts and text supports for podcasts online. 

Guide to Getting Started: 

  1. Find an app for playing podcasts. Apple and Android have native apps, but there are many podcast apps available, such as Stitcher. Using the native app on your device is probably the easiest way to start.  
  2. Search for Podcasts that might be of interest to you. This process is hit-or-miss because there are so many podcasts out there. One way to search is by ratings or popularity in the app store. Another way is just to do a search online (such as “podcast about ____________”). 
  3. Subscribe to Podcasts that you like. You can subscribe or unsubscribe as you like, and you can download or stream episodes (depending on the storage on your device and your access to data). One suggestion: 
    1. Find one or more podcasts specific to Language Learning. These will usually be shorter and easier to understand because they are made for people learning English. 
    2. Find some podcasts about topics that you like. These will usually be longer and harder to understand because they are made for native speakers. However, if you are interested in a topic, you will be more motivated to continue listen 
  4. Find ways to incorporate podcast listening into your daily life. One of the biggest advantages of podcasts is that you can bring high-quality listening activities into your life every day. This will help you get much more practice than you could ever get in face-to-face communication. By listening to one podcast episode a day, some students would double or triple their usually English language input. 

Here are some categories of podcasts that you can start with, with some examples provided 

Podcasts for English Language Learners 
  • American English Pronunciation Podcast (Pronuncian by Seattle Learning Academy) 
  • Espresso English Podcast (Shayna Oliveira) 
  • Real English Conversations Podcast—Listen to English Conversation Lessons (Amy Whitney & Curtis Davies: Conversational English Teachers) 
  • Daily Easy English Expression Podcast (Coach Shane) 

Podcasts about Music

  • All Songs Considered (NPR) 
  • Song Exploder (Song Exploder) 
  • Earth Beat 
 Podcasts about News 
  • The Economist 
  • The Daily (The New York Times)
Podcasts about Science, Technology, or Design 
  • Science Magazine Podcast (Science Magazine) 
  • Science Weekly (The Guardian) 
  • Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson (Dell Technologies) 
  • 99% Invisible (Roman Mars) 
  • Hidden Brain (NPR) 
  • Science VS (Gimlet)  

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