My Favorite Source for Listening Lessons

The world is full of English material! Why do we need to confine ourselves to boring books of grammar and exercises? As a language teacher, my philosophy is that students learn more when the subject matter interests them. So, when I am making custom lessons, I go out and find material which I think will engage a particular student's interests. When I tell other teachers about my method, sometimes I am met with groans, "Ugh, that sounds like so much work!"

While I admit my method requires a bit more effort than just copy and pasting some material from a book, I have a few tricks to minimize my time spent preparing outside of class. I have a reservoir of trusty material, and I know that they can also help you when you are looking to practice your English outside of class. I may be living in the Trump era, but I'm willing to share my sources!

When I prepare a listening lesson, the first place I look is NPR. Some of you may already be familiar with the US' National Public Radio as a premier source of news. And of course, if you are looking to listen to material about world affairs, there's no better place to start! But, NPR's website offers many other free programs that you may not know about. No matter your interest, there's probably a program for you.

I suggest NPR for self-learners for two other reasons. There's almost always a transcript, so if you are confused about a word, accent, or conversation, you can go and find it on the "cheat sheet". Also, there are programs of all lengths! Look at Innovation Now, for example. Some episodes are less than two minutes. I know you're busy, dear student. But trust me, you can find time--in the bus, on the train, while cooking, anywhere! In fact, if you don't have two minutes, I suggest you stop learning English and start organizing your life.

That student who's interested in technology? I'll probably start looking at All Things Tech, about technology in the news. Here's a short program one about privacy on Facebook. (3-5 minutes)

For a student who wants to hear about recent innovations, I'd check out Innovation Now. (90 seconds)

Looking for longer? Radiolab is always interesting. (30-90m)

Business and Finance

Looking for inspiration about a start-up? Hear stories from entrepreneurs from How I Built This (45 minutes)

More Econ-minded? Check Planet Money (20-30 minutes)

Arts and Languages

Poets discuss poetry in This is Just to Say (20-30 minutes)

Hey language learners! Here's a program about English pronunciation. What could be better? (15 minutes)


Brains On, topics about neuroscience for adults and childrens. (30 minutes)

Looking for something longer? Check out RadioLab, some of the most interesting stories on the net! (30-90 minutes)

These were just some ideas, here are many more shows:

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