The best things in life are free and this expression is true for learning English. There are so many opportunities out there to improve your fluency. I will be writing a series of hidden yet very important English resources that you should not discount, when looking for English resources. I consider them the core resources for language learning.
These technologies could be software, hardware, and online resources. Most of you will know these hidden resources but may never use them. The first resource is listening to
Podcasts. Yes! Listening to Podcasts are free and can be very instrumental to your road to fluency.
What are the best ways to access Podcasts?
Using an iPhone or iPod, preferably using ITunes or on your PC-Mac or by listening to podcasts on your home computer. If you don’t have a home computer but you have an Android smartphone you can also listen to podcasts via Stitcher, Pocket casts, Beyond Pod, Podcast Addict, Doggcatcher, Player FM, or Tunein. These are some of the more popular podcast apps. I prefer to listen on my iPod or iPhone because I can easily speed up or slow it down the sound. This feature is important for English learners who need to hear it slowly.
Why listen to podcasts?
Many podcasts are more casual then regular news or other programs and you can listen to candid conversations between the host and guest. Many times the conversations are informal and unrehearsed. Listening to less formal dialog is great way to improve your listening and comprehension skills, because it allows you access current and real life English conversations that you will see in a book or even many films. After time you can pick out different trends and expressions that are commonly used on your favorite podcasts. Podcasts also display show notes or transcripts, so you can always refer to them to understand some of the points that were being made in the podcast. Simply go to the podcasts website. Most podcasts will give you their site address or you can access from iTunes.
What Podcasts should I listen to?
I always believe you should listen to podcasts that sparks your interest. Are you interested in science, travel or starting a new business? There are podcasts that will discuss each of these subjects. There are also many podcasts about speaking English. Here are several that you may be interested in. All of these podcasts can be found by searching on iTunes, and I give credit to http://www.fluentu.com/english/blog/esl-english-podcasts/ for preparing a list of 12 very good English podcasts.
The list includes:
The English we speak- A BBC English language learning podcast series.
Podcasts in English-shows many interesting programs for all levels of English
Listen to English-is a popular podcast series that engages the English student improve their speaking and enhance their vocabulary.
Elementary Podcasts-from the UK’s British Council.
Splendid Speaking-are designed for the advanced language learner who can speak reasonably good English. The podcast includes interviews with English learners.
Better at English- familiarizes the student with the pace of the language and some of its idioms and common expressions.
Voice of America Learning English-Voice of America is an English language news and information service that provides a series of multi-genre programs in English.
Business English Pod-The series covers the integral language required for every conceivable business situation.
Culips ESL Podcast- focuses on vocabulary, expressions, idioms and slang.
ESL Pod-The core of each podcast is an acted out dialogue between two characters. The rest of the episode then concentrates on key words and their uses and meanings.
Luke’s English Podcast-Luke is a qualified English language teacher and stand-up comedian who provides an engaging and entertaining podcast series. His intention is to “make you laugh while you learn”
Make sure to search these podcasts on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.
How much time should I listen to English speaking podcasts?
I recommend listening to around 20 to 30 minutes a day. You can listen on your commute to work or before you go to bed. It’s important to keep your ears tuned in to listening to the English language as it’s an important step towards achieving fluency.
If you have any comments or questions don't hesitate to send me a email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.