A Teacher’s 10 Favorite ESL PodcastsBy Rashmi Chugani
August 11, 2020
It seems that everybody listens to podcasts these days. There are definitely a lot of them out there on a variety of topics, and ESL teachers can take advantage of the huge resource they can be for students. Incorporating them into your lessons can be a bit tricky, but if you learn how to teach English using podcasts, you’ll be able to take your teaching to the next level with a creative and fun resource that will add versatility to your lesson planning, whether you teach English online or in the classroom.
If you’re new to teaching, you’ll want to get initial training and qualification with a TEFL certificate. You can explore our online TEFL courses to get started!
Recommended ESL Podcasts for Teaching English
The following five podcasts are excellent tools for teachers to use within lessons. They all provide ESL material, and some even have episodes that provide tips about teaching methodology, classroom management, and best online practices.
1. Culips ESL Podcast
Culips is one of the best English teaching podcasts because it has something for everyone. Episodes are dedicated to learning idioms, practicing pronunciation, new study tips, etc. So, whether you’re teaching in a classroom or online, Culips will help you tackle all ESL teaching aspects.
One of the best features of this ESL podcast is that every episode has a study guide that summarizes the material for students. The podcast is available on the Culips website, Spotify, iTunes, and the major podcast apps.
2. Luke’s English Podcast
Luke is a teacher and a stand-up comedian who has been hosting his own podcast for ESL students for over ten years. His goal is to “make you laugh while you learn,” which he accomplishes through pop culture-heavy episodes.
While the podcast is Luke’s star product, he also provides videos and transcripts for an easier learning experience. You can find all material on his website, and the podcast itself is also on iTunes.
3. The English We Speak
This BBC podcast is perfect if you’re looking for something quick. Each weekly episode focuses on a different English phrase for three minutes. It’s one of the best ESL podcasts to play during a lesson as the content lends itself to many written and oral exercises for your students.
Some of the phrases are everyday expressions like “cabin fever,” but occasionally the episode will look at slang like “hater” and “spill the tea.” You can play or download this podcast on the BBC website.
With over 100 episodes dating back to 2014, TEFLology is one of the most established podcasts for teachers. While there is content for students, TEFLology is also a wonderful resource if you’re seeking niche topics such as best teaching habits, remote professional development, as well as a lovely array of interviews with the industry’s finest.
Every podcast episode begins with a short summary of what you can expect and includes contact information in case you want to follow up with any questions for the guests. The episodes are also on iTunes, so they’re easily downloadable.
5. Phrasally Verbocious
Created by two teachers living in Spain, Phrasally Verbocious is a fun and relaxed English teaching podcast. Alan and Chris, the hosts, talk about all aspects of ELT including classroom management, online teaching, and career trajectories.
This is a great podcast to not only gather material for your own lessons, but to also pick up some tips from two experienced English teachers. They also often invite other teachers to give their own perspectives on teaching ESL around the world. You can find Phrasally Verbocious on all major podcast listening apps, including Spotify. You can also find their content on YouTube.
Recommended ESL Podcasts for Students Learning English
If you want your students to show progress, then they’re going to have to be encouraged to do some work beyond the terrific lessons you plan for them. Here are some podcast suggestions that will keep them engaged with their lessons – even while you’re not there!
6. This American Life
This award-winning podcast is a lovely combination of journalism and storytelling. Narrated in very clear, well-paced English, this ESL podcast will get students to immerse themselves in the lives of people all over the United States.
While This American Life is easy to follow, it might be a better podcast for intermediate and advanced students. It has its own app, but you can also find it on Spotify and Pandora as well.
7. 6-Minute English from the BBC
This BBC product is one of the best podcasts for English learners. If any of your students, particularly older ones, are short on time, listening to 6-Minute English is a great way for them to keep their education going.
The topics they cover in six minutes range from meditation to artificial intelligence. There are also some lighter subjects that could work well for younger students. The episodes are available to download on the BBC website.
8. Little Stories for Tiny People
Aimed at kids, this ESL podcast is a fantastic choice for your younger English students. Each episode is a story that can quickly spark imagination with simple yet colorful language. The themes range from Friendship to Growing Up, so you can plan your lessons accordingly.
Little Stories for Tiny People is performed in a very childlike spirit to capture its target audience. The podcast is found on its parent website and the major podcast-hosting apps.
9. Bedtime History
This podcast is another perfect choice for some of your younger students. Bedtime History is about past and present inspirational people like Maya Angelou and J.K. Rowling. Episodes use simple vocabulary and are roughly 12 minutes long.
While most of the content focuses on people, there are other topics like space exploration that students could also enjoy. Its accessible style and wide array of subjects make it one of the best podcasts for learning English. It’s currently available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and YouTube.
10. Overheard at National Geographic
Some of your students may be familiar with National Geographic. The popular magazine has a podcast that advanced students will love. Each episode paints a very vivid picture with the script, which tends to be about an interesting feature of our planet.
Transcripts are available if students wish to follow the narration. All episodes can be found on the National Geographic website, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.
ESL podcasts provide great tools when it comes to sparking student interest, introducing new vocabulary, and giving students the chance to listen to proper pronunciation.