Stop and think – what’s the one thing you never leave home without? Well, if you’re like one of the 15,000 people recently surveyed by Reputation Leaders, a global management consultancy, in countries as diverse as Brazil, Italy, and Japan then you probably said “your smartphone.”* The same survey also revealed that half the global population wastes up to four hours a day by sitting in traffic or waiting in line. What if we told you, however, that there was a way to make the most of that time to improve your English by using the very thing you carry with you wherever you go? That’s right, forget Angry Birds and try ESL podcasts. These handy learning tools offer great listening practice in the palm of your hand and, best of all, at a price that suits any budget: free. In fact, you don’t even need a smartphone to listen to them – but you are on your own if you want to bring your PC on the subway. Here are a few of our favorites:
ESL Pod: The mother of all ESL podcasts, this program has more than 800 episodes featuring native speakers engaging in a variety of real-life situations. Well-suited to beginner- and intermediate-level students thanks its slower conversational pace, ESL Pod also features a vocabulary review section at the end of each conversation.
Better at English: This ESL podcast offers intermediate and advanced students plenty of advantages. Not only does it feature realistic conversations using both American and British accents but it also provides a series of comprehension questions before the listening portion so that students can really test their mettle. Plus, unlike much of the competition, both transcripts and vocabulary explanations are available for free on their home page.
Business English Pod: Like Better at English, this ESL Podcast also uses both American and British accents but, thanks to its focus on Business English, it provides far more nuanced discussions of topics such as job interviews and business presentations. As an added bonus the hosts even go so far as to deconstruct each conversation to explain new vocabulary and concepts.
Of course, these three are just a few of the many ESL podcasts available. If we missed your favorite just let us know in the comments below and we will be sure to share it with ESL students around the world! Want more tips? Check out these top 10 tips to learn English.
* According to the survey, more people said their smartphone (24%) than either cash (20%) or credit card (21%).