7 Great Podcasts That Can Improve Your ESL Teaching
Every so often, ESL teachers need to roll up their sleeves and do a bit of learning of their own!
And what better way to do that learning than by listening to ESL podcasts just for teachers?
Podcasts are entertaining and timely, and they are a fantastic way to hone your English teaching skills.
From ones that prepare you for conferences to others featuring funny teacher stories, there is certainly a podcast with your name on it. Are you ready to get inspired for your next class?
What Is a Podcast?
Remember when everyone used to huddle around the radio for the latest news or to catch their favorite program? Well, some of you may, but most of you probably do not. Even if you didn’t listen to old-timey radio programs, though, you probably get the idea, and that’s useful because a podcast is essentially the same as those radio programs of yesteryear.
A podcast is a slightly more innovative radio program that is about news, trending topics or some form of informational content. If you have a topic in mind, you can most likely Google it and find a podcast about it.
So what does this have to do with ESL?
Short answer: ESL podcasts for teachers are 100 percent free resources! And teachers love free resources. Podcasts are also a valuable tool for you to keep up on trending teaching topics and new trains of thought within the industry, and they are a fantastic outlet to hone new skills.
Why ESL Podcasts Are Essential for Teachers
After your initial ESL teaching certification, you may have noticed that you were essentially left on your own if you wanted to stay current in your career field. This can certainly be challenging.
Between crafting lesson plans, developing syllabuses, teaching classes, grading homework and trying to fit in some personal time, honing your ESL teacher skills probably has taken a backseat.
Enter ESL podcasts for teachers.
Podcasts can be a nice way to unwind on the sofa after a long day. They are downloadable and you can listen to them at the gym or during your morning commute to the classroom. And since they are online, there are a wide variety available at your fingertips.
Need a new lesson plan idea? Or how about finding new, creative ways to get your students moving in the classroom? The podcasts we will talk about today can help you with both. As a bonus, many are short and concise, with a plethora of teacher-inspired content.
Let’s listen in a little closer and learn about seven ESL podcasts that are valuable for any busy teacher.
7 Great Podcasts That Can Improve Your ESL Teaching
1. TEFL Boot Camp
TEFL Boot Camp is an online resource for ESL teachers new and old. They also offer online TEFL certifications for those who want to join the ranks of language teachers around the world.
If you want to brush up on that TEFL certification course, or you are a soon-to-be professional ESL educator, TEFL Boot Camp has some very informative podcasts. They are specifically used to supplement the teacher training material they have on their site. However, many teachers also find them great for brushing up on the basics.
A few of their podcast topics include:
- Teaching EFL Reading
- Teaching EFL Pronunciation
- Discipline in the EFL Classroom
- EFL Lesson Planning
- Demonstration Lessons in EFL
They are also downloadable so you can take them on the go. They even come with an informative guide covering the basic concepts, and often include a supplemental podcast as well.
One of my favorites is “Student Discipline in the EFL Classroom.” What teacher couldn’t use a little brush-up on that subject? This is also good for teacher trainers who want to ensure that future educators are prepared for the classroom.
2. International House
International House provides an online lineup of podcasts to complement their CELTA course. These are quick, efficient and cover valuable topics all teachers can take something from. They are also downloadable. They range from five minutes to 20 minutes, so you may be able to get two or three in on your way to class.
Some of their episodes cover:
- EFL Teaching Methods
- Teaching EFL Writing
- Teaching Business English in EFL
- Correcting Errors in the EFL Classroom
- Discipline in the EFL Classroom
My favorite podcast from this site is on methodology: “EFL Teaching Methods.” It is always a good idea to keep your methodology fresh, especially when developing new lesson plans for the school year after a long summer break.
3. The TEFL Show
The TEFL Show offers great ESL podcasts for teachers. They really put together very timely material that can be useful and entertaining for teachers of all levels, ages and locations around the world. The TEFL Show podcasts are also available on iTunes, SoundCloud and TuneIn. They also serve up video resources on their site too.
A few of their podcasts are:
- Our favourite ELT blogs
- Minority Languages
- Is having a ‘foreign’ accent in English a bad thing?
- Interview with Cecilia Nobre
- Which pronunciation model should we teach?
One of my favorites is “Qualities of Effective English Teachers.” I’m sure you’re already an effective English teacher, but it’s good to have a reminder every so often. This one runs a little long, about 30 minutes, but it’s certainly a great listen for ESL professionals.
TEFLology podcasts date back to 2014, and they are still going strong. Each episode includes a nice summary of what you can expect, as well as contact information for teachers who want to follow up with the episode’s presenter regarding any pressing questions. These podcasts are also available on iTunes, making them downloadable for that daily commute.
Some of their latest podcasts include:
- Michael Lewis, IATEFL, and Visual Aids
- Donna Brinton on CLIL
- Conference Line-ups, Bathsua Makin, and CLIL
- Forum Discussion (JALT 2018)
You can certainly see by the titles that this is not your run-of-the-mill podcast. They serve up some fresh topics with very informative, concise content.
One of my favorites from TEFLology is the “Pokemon Go, Tsuda Umeko, and Storytelling.” This episode is filled with music, Pokémon GO and a teacher profile that dates back to the samurai era. The story is compelling and worth a listen.
5. Masters of TESOL
Masters of TESOL has a lot of resources for teachers, but their podcasts are certainly the centerpiece. The other resources Masters of TESOL serves up include lesson plans, ice breakers and proficiency levels. They also have an entertaining section dedicated to funny ESL stories told by teachers.
A few of their titles are:
- The Student Becomes The Teacher – Justin McKibben
- What the way you speak says about you – Sociolinguistics with Andrew Euan MacFarlane
- Babies and First Language Acquisition – Tamar Keren-Portnoy pt1
- How fair is your English test? – QUICKIE
Most of the them are complemented by a short and informative description of key points, and they include social media contact info if you want to get in touch. They can run a little long, so you may want to carve out some time on the weekend to have a listen.
My favorite from this site is “Too old to learn? The Critical Period – Heather Marsden.” I found it really useful for my older students reaching those golden years. It was motivational, and it really put much of what ESL teachers do into perspective.
6. TEFL Training Institute
TEFL Training Institute has a sleek website to go with their informative ESL podcasts. Although they are focused mainly on TEFL certification, their menu at the top of the home page provides a nice list of different podcast topics, each of which has several episodes. TEFL Training Institute also has videos you can check out if you are in the mood to watch rather than simply listen.
Their lineup of podcast topics includes:
Although it’s a couple years old, their podcast “Highlights from IATEFL 2017 (with Dave Weller),” is probably my favorite now. It really showcases what is happening in the world of English education and what the future may hold. It is also complemented by videos and presentation material from the IATEFL conference.
7. The State of Tech
The State of Tech is a little something different when it comes to podcasts for ESL teachers. The field of English language learning and teaching has become intertwined with tech in so many ways. Teachers are using it in classrooms, even in the most remote areas. The State of Tech highlights educational technology, something you may find entertaining and useful.
They cover all things tech like:
- Episode 030 – “Information Overload”
- Episode 031 – “Formative Assessments and Polls”
- Episode 024 – “Spotlight: Medina City Schools”
- Episode 23 – “Google Plus”
- Episode 20 – “Student ePortfolios”
My favorite episode and video would have to be “Episode 029 – “Gamification Part 1.” It is a slightly older episode, but still has some value when thinking about how gamification can be a valuable resource for learning.
There are so many podcasts online for teachers to choose from. Some may be geared more toward TEFL and the methodological basics, and others may cover teacher interviews and the latest English educator conferences.
Tapping into a podcast every now and again is important. You want to give your students the best, and that sometimes means doing a bit of learning yourself.
Stephen Seifert is a writer, editor, professor of English and adventurer. With nearly a decade of teaching experience to students worldwide, he enjoys the many aspects of culture and traditions different from his own. Stephen continues his search for writing inspiration, boldly enjoying life to the fullest.