English podcasts

Since returning from a trip to Germany in the spring, I’ve been trying to listen to a daily Berlin news program to improve both my German and my knowledge of current events in Germany. The podcast is perfect for many reasons:

  •   It has a predictable format
  •   It is relatively short (max 30 minutes)
  •   The speakers use standard German
  •   There is a lot of transferable knowledge from current events that helps me understand the content. For example, I can predict that there will be a story on the Scottish independence vote and I already know something about the issue, so the story is more comprehensible to me.
  •   I can replay the podcast as often as I like.

However, I still find I would like to have a teacher help me with the podcast and I can envision spending a whole lesson on a single podcast. Here’s what I need:

  • Vocabulary development: There are new words that I need to understand better and practice to incorporate them into first my passive and then my active vocabulary.
  • Schema building: I don’t know enough about the local issues discussed to understand the content. This is especially true for the sports coverage. I’m sort of learning about the Herta soccer team, but a great deal goes over my head.
  • Reading: I want to read the podcast – or at least sections of it. I am a visual learner and I find it hard to remember words I haven’t seen. (On a side note, I even have a hard time with the names of the characters in Game of Thrones because I haven’t read the books.)
  • Production: I would like some writing practice and especially speaking practice to help reinforce the language.

So, while the podcast is great for language acquisition, I feel I need some learning to help support the acquisition. I definitely think clips like these can be great resources for classroom materials and activities.

The following two tabs change content below.
M.A. Linguistics, University of Arizona, BA International Studies, Miami University Bernice began her career at S-TESL in 1992 as the pronunciation instructor for the ESL class. From 1993 – 2004, she was a TESOL teacher educator and taught many courses in the intensive, evening, and online formats. In addition, Bernice developed curriculum for several of the courses. From 2004 – 2015, Bernice was the Director of the school.