Using Podcasts for Improving English
Founder & Speech Pathologist
How and why you should be using them
to improve your English.
What is a podcast
Podcasts are like radio shows that you can listen to or download from your phone. There are thousands of podcasts on just about every topic. Podcasts are a fantastic tool for improving your English. Use them to improve your listening skills, vocabulary, understanding of English expressions, fluency and pronunciation. Yes! You can use podcasts to improve your spoken English too! See below on how to use podcasts to improve fluency and pronunciation.
Why you should be using Podcasts
Podcasts are accessible and FREE. With podcasts you can turn unproductive time into productive time! For example, listen to them while you travel, listen to the while you clean the house, listen to them while you are at the gym. Time that you would not have been improving your English – is now time spent improving your English. It’s a WIN WIN WIN : )
Setting Up a Podcast
Start Listening to Podcasts
Find some great podcasts to start with below. There are thousands of podcasts on every topic imaginable. Search the topic you would like in google to find more. eg ‘organic gardening + podcast’, ‘nursing + podcast’, ‘electrical engineering + podcast) etc
BBC English Podcast – 6 Minute English: Fun, short podcast on a wide range of topics.
BBC English Podcast – 6 Minute Vocabulary: Every week, we look at a different everyday English phrase or piece of slang in this fun three-minute programme.
JJJ Hack Podcast. Awesome current affairs program for young people living in Australia. Great to ‘brush up’ on small talk topics and vocabulary.
More Australian Podcasts: these are a variety of podcasts brought out by the ABC.
This American Life Podcast: Each week they choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme.
Here’s the Thing Podcast: Actor Alec Baldwin brings listeners into the lives of artists, policy makers and performers.
Using Podcasts to Improve Your English
Improving Listening Skills with Podcasts
Podcasts are fantastic to use to improve your listening skills because they are audio only. A lot of my students are very visual learners – they rely on visual cues. When they watch videos they often rely on visual cues. Podcasts boost their listening skills because they are forced to use their ears! You’ll be exposed to different English accents and a range of styles of English. You’ll hear lots of English expressions.
The beauty is that unlike radio, you can pause if you didn’t catch something and listen to it again. Actually I highly recommend you listen to the same podcast more than once. Each time you listen you’ll strengthen your skills and pick up more. And as you’ll read below – listening more than once is helpful for pronunciation skills too.
Improving Fluency with Podcasts
To improve your fluency listen to the podcast for 10 minutes. Then pause the podcast and spend 10 minutes describing it out loud in as much detail as possible. Speaking out loud to yourself is an excellent way to improve your fluency. Watch our video on Improving your English fluency. This will improve your vocabulary and is excellent preparation for IELTS, OET, PTE and other English Proficiency Exams.
See our video on 1 Daily Habit to Fantastic English Fluency. It is one of the videos at the bottom of this page.
Improving English Pronunciation skills with Podcasts
The first time we listen to something we listen to meaning. To listen to the pronunciation of the speaker – so aspects such as word stress, vowel sounds, linking etc it helps to listen to the same podcast 2 or 3 times. Each time you listen you will get better at hearing pronunciation elements such as these.
So, get in to Podcasts! Once you start you’ll be totally converted, in other words, you’ll love them!
If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up to our Free English Pronunciation Short Course.
For other helpful tips and free resources:
Improve with our English Pronunciation videos on our Youtube channel and English Pronunciation tips on Facebook.
Start improving and learn clear English today with our tailored English pronunciation courses.