ESL Podcasting Project @ ISU

Sample podcasts

Zion National Park


Numerous podcasts are already online and available for students learning English, but they vary widely. ESL/EFL podcasts can be broadly categorized into three areas:

  1. podcasts produced by students for other students (usually as part of a class), and
  2. podcasts produced by teachers for students (usually not for a class, but more for self-study).
  3. podcats focusing on test preparation (e.g. TOEFL)

Some podcasts focus on learning English through song, some through listening to news stories, and others through informal conversation. The most obvious use of podcasting is for helping students improve their listening skills.

Resources for finding Podcasts

Search for audio and video podcasts on a variety of topics. If you want to look at ESL-specific podcasts, type "ESL" into the search box.

iTunes music store
Search the comprehensive Music Store for podcasts in many languages (including English) Note: You must have iTunes to view podcasts in the iTunes music store.

This site contains links to a number of podcasts for ESL students who are interested in self-study. Each podcast is summarized and available for review by students or teachers who use them.

This is a Gigadial station created for a group of English language teachers enrolled in the 2006 TESOL Electric Village Online session. It contains links not only to language learning podcasts, but to other resources on podcasting as well.


Student-student podcasts/Classroom podcasts

The Bardwell Road Centre Podcast
This podcast is produced for an English class in England and is primarily for students in the class rather than language learners who are not in the class. Most podcasts contain interviews and dialogues by non-native English speakers in the class.

Campus Beat
This podcast is used in conjunction with Sean McMinn's course that teaches students how to write various styles of texts. One assignment is to write a news article about something on campus; this assignment evolved into the Campus Beat podcast where students report on interesting happenings around their Hong Kong campus.

Theme Tourism Podcast
This podcast is produced by Graham Stanley to be used in conjunction with his Tourism class in Barcelona, Spain. Students look at a variety of themes used to promote tourism and examines them critically.


Teacher-student podcasts

Breaking News English
This podcast features various news stories that are relatively short. The website also provides a transcript of each story.

English Idioms and Slang (formerly the Daily Idiom )
These short podcasts focus on a single English idiom or slang term in each podcast. Students can listen to an explanation of the meaning of the idiom or slang term, as well as an example in context, and are also provided with a transcript.

English Teacher John podcast
This podcast is produced by a native English speaker teaching English in Japan who speaks slowly to help English language learners follow the podcast. He focuses on topics such as holidays, outdoor activities, greetings, and often includes phrases and words in other languages. He usually ends the podcast with an English for helping with pronunciation, that explains an idiom, that explains compound adjectives, etc.

These podcasts usually center around a story or dialog that is presented twice-once at a rather slow pace, and once at a native rate of speech. Between readings, some expressions or phrases are explained. Topics range from movies to vacations to shopping for clothes. View scripts of this podcast.

Flo-Joe Radio
This podcast is specifically designed for advanced-level English students who are preparing to take the Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) Exam. The podcasts compliment a weekly newsletter that students can subscribe to. Sample episodes feature two native English speakers (Peter Travis and and Fiona Joseph) using specific vocabulary items in their spontaneous speech and short lessons addressing exam-related tasks such as writing an article for the CAE.

Learn English Professionals (the British Council)
There are number of podcasts here designed for students learning English. Transcripts are available, and topics range from how students learning English (by students) to a lecture on business ethics.

Learn a Song Podcast
This website, by Charles Kelley, contains audio files of traditional, American songs sung by a native-speaker of English. Some of these files are available in a podcast format, and some are available as Flash files which allow students to listen to individual lines of a song or the entire song.

Madrid Young Learner's Podcasts
These podcasts are short dialogues, usually an informal story, a song, or a news-like story, that are followed by a list of comprehension or review questions for students to answer after listening. Sometimes, as with a song, a transcript is provided.

Spendid Speaking Podcast
This podcast is one component of the online Splendid Speaking English self-study course, and is produced by Peter Travis. Episodes contain interviews with, recorded conversations with, or monologues from English learners demonstrating things like asking questions or using anecdotes. All episodes are narrated by a native English speaker.

UgoEigo Podcasts
This video podcast focuses on pronouncing individual sounds that are similar. For example, an episode could cover 'B' and 'P', or 'F' and 'V'. The narrator for the podcast encourages students to listen once and then repeat the sound. Students can view a transcript of the show, which can also help them determine which sound they hear when the narrator reads through a list of minimal pairs (e.g. 'bear' and 'pear').

Word Nerds
Dave Shepherd, Howard Shepherd and Howard Chang, language or language-arts teachers, regularly update this weekly podcast about words and language. Podcasts center around a theme, and contain such features as poems, musings, and rude words of the week. This podcast is more for native speakers of English but it could be used for advanced level English learners - especially those who are interested in idiomatic English.

Test preparation podcasts's Guide to the TOEFL Test podcast
These podcasts are for students studying for the TOEFL test, as well as "other, similar standardized tests". There are quite a variety of podcasts here that can on specific parts of the test, e.g. listening, and provide a sampling of questions. This podcast is appropriate for lower-level learners who need speech to be spoken slowly. Higher-level learners may find the speech rate very unnatural rather than helpful.


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