Online English Learning tips- Learning English through Podcasts
To learn English language is tricky but not impossible. Do you find yourself confused or overwhelmed as to where you must begin? With so many online spoken English courses coming up and each of these claiming to be the best online English speaking course in India, it has become imperative to have your own shortlisting framework.
We have covered multiple articles in the past on this topic- be it lesson delivery, course structure, choosing an online English tutor, spoken English lesson types and so on.
We are now living in an era where technological advances are common, just look at the success and acceptance rate of online English speaking courses!. This is true for language learning as well. Now learning English is easier just with a couple of taps- all you require is your laptop or your phone and a good internet connection. Not only can you hear real English conversations, and pronunciation of words, but you can listen to them anywhere, and pause or rewind them whenever you like- Yes, PODCASTS are an incredible way to improve your English.
Podcasts entertain as well as educate you and teach you how to go from ‘passive’ to ‘active’ learner. These are one of many fun and effective language activities you can do every day. One benefit is that podcasts generally have transcripts (a written version of the audio). The good part is with this feature, you can listen and read at the same time, or look at a transcript if one part of it is confusing. Many of the podcasts are conversational, therefore they give the chance to hear how English speakers interact in real life and expose you to lots of interesting new languages.
Tips to learn English through Podcasts:
There are many techniques you can use while listening to English podcasts that’ll help you to improve your English.
Listen as background noise first
Background noise means listening to sounds in the background while you’re doing something else. When you listen to music while you clean the bathroom, that music is your background noise. Listening to English podcasts as background noise while you do other tasks actually helps your brain to get used to the language. As an online English teacher, I cannot emphasize enough on cultivating listening skills while learning the language.
Listen with attention in the second time
Now listen to the podcast a second time and pay attention to all the words and expressions you recognize after listening. You can try doing this twice or thrice. If you feel the speaker is talking quickly, reduce the speed of the audio to 75% which can help you understand the words clearly. All major podcast apps will allow you to adjust the speed.
Write a summary of the podcast
Write a summary of the podcast including the key arguments, different ideas and what the things that you have learnt. Use other words and sentences to express the same idea. If you can accurately comprehend and summarize everything that has been said, it means that you have understood the gist of the podcast. Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to use vocabulary, sentences, or expressions that you heard in the podcast. It’s only through practicing these expressions, you will be able to reuse them yourself.
Transcribe the podcast
Before you look at the transcript provided, try to write your own transcript as and when listening to it. You might have to pause and rewind as you go along to comprehend all the words and sentences accurately. Use a laptop and try transcribing it on a keyboard. This will be an easier task. Then compare your transcription to the transcription provided. If you got a word wrong, or you didn’t manage to catch that word, listen to the word again, and practice saying it yourself.
Read the transcript, if it’s available
Reading the transcript while you listen to a podcast is useful as you get the similar information through two different mediums, your eyes and your ears, which enables your brain to remember and comprehend more.
Pick up new vocabulary and grammar from the podcast
Hearing podcasts will enrich your vocabulary. If you look up new words and learn and pick grammar bits in each podcast you listen to, you’ll likely remember them and it will be a great help in the future to grow as an English language learner.
Repeat words and sentences out loud
Speak out loud what you heard. If required, pause the podcast whenever you want to and go back to words and phrases that are new to you or you think are difficult to pronounce. Repeat them over and over until you get them correctly. Having good pronunciation and vocabulary is necessary and this particular activity will help you gain the same. This is a remarkable technique pioneered by scholar and polyglot Alexander Arguelles which can give you excellent results.
Make time for it every day or week
It is only beneficial if you set a time and follow it regularly. Set aside a set period of time per day or week. This can be as short as 10 minutes or an hour of transcribing podcasts per weekday. You can even combine passive and active listening. If you have a 30-minute commute, you can listen to the podcast in the morning. You can again listen in an ‘active’ mode when you get home in the evening. Podcasts are a great way to get a better grasp of any foreign language even when you are either jogging or commuting. They are the perfect way to complement your language classes and pick up some new vocabulary during your commute or even during workout.
Audio podcasts have long been used in language learning as a unidirectional teacher-to-student mode of transmitting information by providing notes and material for the lessons taught in class, recording lectures, or giving audio feedback. Podcasts are a great way to practice your English skills. It is a great educational tool that can lead to increased student motivation and enhanced learning experience. You can listen to them anytime- when you’re driving, cooking, cleaning, or working out. There is a large community of people all around the world who are learning English with podcasts. You can try finding a community and share experiences, study tricks and make new acquaintances.
Remember, the more you share and discuss, the faster you grow and make progress. In fact, the use of podcasts inside and outside of the classroom is one such innovative tool that has developed an increased interest in the field of tertiary level language learning. Focusing on podcasts can keep you motivated and it might be possible that you even pick up another language by listening to completely new words and sentences repeatedly.