Listening to podcasts is efficient and convenient. The information is personal and updated, presented in a pleasant way, thus being of high interest, and the vocabulary chosen is used mainly in spoken language, which is really useful when it comes to improving speaking skills in a different language.
Podcasts represent a form of communication which is easy to consume, since they can be listened almost anywhere (while commuting or at home). They can be easily downloaded, too. Because they are delivered digitally, their cost is low, and most of them are even free of cost.
The word “podcast” comes from combining the words “iPod” and “broadcast”. It represents a creative process that develops the listeners’ creativity as well. Its purpose is to inform and educate. Thus, it can be used successfully by students.
Many courses are currently available in the form of podcasts that can be listened to any time and everywhere. They are used increasingly much in the study of foreign languages.
Podcasts represent a technology on demand at the moment in various fields, apart from education, and they offer in most cases the possibility to subscribe and follow. They are easy to reach, some of them being available on social media too.
They are also used in the classroom, for instance together with the reading task, in order to follow the spoken message more easily, recognize some words and understand the text (formal or informal conversations). Beginners enjoy listening to the pronunciation, stress and intonation while having a look at the script, improving thus their pronunciation.
Since there are so many podcasts on various topics, they can be chosen based on the lesson or the topic discussed in class (news and events, history, sport, culture). Podcasts familiarise young students with different forms of communication (narrative, dialogue, interviews). Apart from the language, listeners can learn plenty of new things related to general knowledge, which represents another advantage of podcasts. Moreover, texts are different from the “traditional” ones in textbooks. Subjects are contemporary and relevant.
Listening practice develops the ability to focus, listen and understand. Because the materials are always new, students have the pleasant feeling of special and fresh information. Besides, a podcast can be listened to several times, with pause and rewind for a better understanding. It is an excellent way to make progress with the study of foreign languages, as well as have access to numerous viewpoints.
You can read more on the usefulness of podcasts in education here:
Article by Nadia Esslim