Monday, June 26, 2006

Audio Podcasts for English Language Learners

Hi English language learners!

Geoff Taylor, St Clare's, Oxford, English language teacher here again.

I'd like to share with you some links to some free podcasts that you can listen to.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a kind of Internet radio show (audio or video). The word podcast comes from joining the two words iPod (a popular MP3 player produced by Apple Computer) and broadcast (for example, a radio broadcast).

A podcast is like an audio magazine, with new shows (or episodes) normally published every day or week.

More information about podcasting at

How can I listen to a podcast?

The most convenient way is to subscribe to a podcast you want to listen to.

You can subscribe to a podcast using podcatcher software, such as Apple's free iTunes. When you connect to the Internet, any new episodes will automatically download to your computer. Depending on the podcast, new episodes are normally produced every day or week.

Then you can easily transfer them to your iPod - or other MP3 player - to listen to any time you want, for example, on your way to and from school.

You can listen on your personal computer (PC or Mac). Or you can listen on your MP3 player (for example, on your iPod).

Are there any podcasts for English language learners?

Yes. Here are some example English language learning podcasts:

Breaking News English
Level: 2 levels: low and higher
Content: Ready-to-use EFL / ESL lesson plans and podcast based on current news
More information: All lessons are based on stories currently in the news. A new lesson each day at two different levels with a graded listening for each level every day. Listening files can be downloaded in mp3 format or subscribed to via a podcast. All lessons are also downloadable in Word.doc and PDF formats.

English Conversations
Level: Low intermediate or higher
Content: Practical Conversations for Language Learners
More information: the collaborative work of Kyoto-based educators, Mark White and Aaron Campbell

English Idioms and Slang
Level: Intermediate/advanced
Content: Idiom and slang lessons for learners of English

Flo-Joe Radio
Level: Upper intermediate, advanced
Content: Exam-related material for teachers and students preparing for Cambridge FCE, CAE and CPE

ELLLO (English Language Listening Lab Online) PodCast
More information: "ELLLO PodCast is the podcast version of, a collection of over 800 audio activities. Click the 'subscribe' button to get our mp3 podcast, and the coversation transcrpts directly in your iTunes Library."

Listen to English - Learn English
Content: Vocabulary, pronunciation and listening
More information: "The podcasts on this site will help you to improve your English vocabulary and pronunciation and your listening skills. There are three short (2 or 3 minutes) podcasts every week, in clearly spoken English. You can download them to your computer, or subscribe using a programme such as iTunes or Yahoo, or simply listen to them by clicking the Flash player on the web page beneath each episode. You can put the podcasts onto your iPod or MP3 player, and listen to them on your way to school or work. The full text of each podcast is on this site (and will also appear on your iPod screen), so you can look up the meanings of words that you do not understand in a dictionary. Then close your eyes and listen! Have fun!"

Level: mixed
Content: Business English
More information: "EnglishPod is an on-demand training product that enables users to learn English on their terms - when and where is most convenient for them. LISTEN to the free daily podcasts on your media device (iPod, MP3 player, phone, computer, etc). Use the PDF transcripts to PRACTICE what you heard with a teacher, friend or colleague. Then REVIEW the key vocabulary and grammar on the EnglishPod website to reinforce what you learned."

ELT Podcasts
Level: Intermediate
Content: Theme-based conversations and language practice for EFL and ESL students of English

ESL Business News
Level: Lower intermediate or higher
Content: A weekly podcast of international business news read in slow, clear English. Listen to the podcast and follow along in the accompanying script.

Just Vocabulary's Podcast
Level: Advanced
Content: Learn 2 new words a day!

The Bardwell Road Centre Podcast
Level: Low intermediate and above
Content: The podcast for English language students, by English language students at St Clare's, Oxford, UK

Radio Engish: New Dynamic English & Functioning in Business
Level: Intermediate
Content: General & Business English
More information: "Every 27 weeks, Voice of America rebroadcast the New Dynamic English and Functioning in Business radio english courses. The two English courses, created by DynEd International, are part of a comprehensive English-language teaching program. Each series lasts for 26 weeks. The 25-minute programs are being broadcast daily throughout the world. The New Dynamic English radio program is an English-language course, with additional information about American people and culture. This radio program is based on the first 4 modules of the New Dynamic English multimedia course."

English Teacher John Snow
Level: lower levels ("We always speak slowly and clearly. Listen and practice!")
Content: grammar, idioms, pronunciation, topics and more
More information: An easy-to-understand English learning podcast

English as a Second Language Podcast
Content: dialogues & stories
More information: " is run by a volunteer team of experienced English as a Second Language professors with over 30 years of high school, adult, and university ESL teaching experience. Dr. Lucy Tse writes scripts and story ideas for all of the podcasts, and records many of the dialogs and stories. The host for the podcast is Dr. Jeff McQuillan, who helps read the scripts and provides explanations for them... Beginning May 15, all podcasts will have an 8-10 page Learning Guide, with complete transcripts and more vocabulary, explanations, cultural information, and much more."

Johnny's ESL Page
A Podcasting Resource for ESL/EFL Students

English Feed - English Listening Practice Podcasts
Level: All levels
Content: Grammar
More information: "English listening practice through podcasts for English students of all levels created by Kenneth Beare guide to English as a Second Language at"

Jokes in English Podcast
Level: Low intermediate and above
Content: jokes in English

Other Excellent Free English Language Listening Resources (not podcasts)

English Language Listening Lab Online
Level: All
Content: Listening practice
More information: "ELLLO is a collection of over 800 audio activities that esl, efl, English students and teachers can access freely via the net. Most audio comes with pictures of the speaker, the transcript, and downloadable audio in mp3 format."

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab
Level: Low intermediate and above (Easy, Medium and Difficult)
Content: Topic-indexed listening practice materials, and vocabulary lessons.

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