Podcast: a radio programme that is stored in a digital form that you can download from the Internet and play on a computer or on an MP3 player. ( Cambridge Online Dictionary)
Why do I start with a definition? I was surprised to realise that people who actually have the time and will to learn English on a regular basis (the retired) are not familiar with podcasts. Just the other day in class, I was asked what they were.
Today I’ve decided to try to help you incorporate podcast listening into your study routine.However, it isn’t all that simple. Looking up the explanation on Wikipedia, along with the more precise definition, I came upon the history of podcasts as well as their many subcategories. Quite an interesting read!
How to use podcasts to enhance your English
Listening comprehension is the basis of face to face communication. Sadly, most students of a foreign language find it most difficult to master. The equation is simple : the more you listen to the language the better you will understand it. Not so long ago students were limited to listening to the radio or TV. Luckily, now with the Internet there are countless listening comprehension possibilities as podcasts blend a vast range of different recordings: books,interviews, radio dramas,instruction manuals, music and a long etc.
What you should do first is make lists and put them into categories. The best would be to categorise them by length. For example:
1. A list of 5 to 10 minute long podcasts to listen to while you commute to/ from work/school.
2. A list of longer podcasts, up to around 20 minutes for a long car journey, e. g. interviews or reviews of TV series and films.
3. Podcasts of books and short stories for all of you who like being read.
Then, the subcategories could be arranged by topic:
1. English learning podcasts on certain topics such as grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation.
2. A list or lists made according to the topics you are most interested in; travel, cooking arts or business.
Where to start
1. English learning podcasts:
2. Books and Culture