Monday, April 15, 2013

Podcasts as ESL Listening Activities

It can be difficult to plan and implement an effective listening lesson plan for English as a Second Language students, especially adult students.  While there is a plethora of material out there that relate to activities that develop listening skills for young ESL students that are cartoon themed, or somewhat childish, it can be difficult to find realistic, or authentic, material with which adults can learn that will capture and hold their attention.  While there is always the option of going onto YouTube and searching key words related to the ESL skill or concept you are trying to teach, such as commercials or television show clips, there is another option ESL teachers should be aware of: Podcasts.

Podcasts can be easily created with a recording device or microphone, and access to the Internet.  Teachers can create their own to meet their specific needs that can be published for student access on the website, or to be downloaded onto the students' own mp3 player, or similar device, if they have it.  I was able to quickly find one podcast that would be a great resource for an ESL listening activity for adult students on the website ESL Pod.  The podcast is one of almost 1,000 available for free use.  The podcast, titled ESL Podcast 885- Talking to a Bank Teller, enables listeners to hear a common situation between a bank teller and customer conversing.  The interaction between the speaker and the bank teller is very common in daily life, one that adult ESL students should be aware of and have practice listening and responding to the common activities and conversations that occur inside a bank.  The speaker of the podcast is very clear and speaks very slowly, while explaining the situation and performing the conversation.  This podcast would serve as an excellent listening activity for students as it also includes a written transcript of the conversation, with certain vocabulary in bold font.  This would allow for students to practice the use of this situational vocabulary they would need to have knowledge of if and when they need a service at a bank. 

Many other podcasts are available through this website.  They are organized into certain categories such as entertainment, business, and so on, making it easy to navigate and find a podcast that meets the needs of your students.  This website along with many others are available at no cost to anyone who can find use, and even are created regarding hobbies or interests, all the way to others' political opinions, which can also play their part in many adult ESL lessons.

1 comment:

  1. Your choice of the podcast of an exchange in a bank sounds like a very practical one for learners because it fills vary basic need for adult learners and involves some very specialized vocabulary.