I’ve recently added links to two excellent podcast sites designed to teach English. One great thing about both of these sites is that, unlike many podcasts, these sites show the text at the same time you’re listening to the audio.
The two sites are Better At English and Listen to English. I’ve placed them both at the bottom of the Audio Conversations section of my English For Beginners page.
I am doing some research about EFL/ESL podcasting sites and was interested to read this comment: “One great thing about both of these sites [above] is that, unlike many podcasts, these sites show the text at the same time you’re listening to the audio”.
Now my research is to help me improve our site: http://www.podcastsinenglish.com and I can’t help wondering, if the aim of the podcasts is to provide listening practise what the advantage of having the text to read is. I’m a native speaker of English and yet, when I listen to the podcasts, I read the transcript at the same time – I can’t help myself! (It’s like reading the English subtitles on some films) Therefore this is not listening practise at all. On our site we provide ‘listening for gist’ and then ‘listening for more detail’ tasks and encourage students not to look at the transcript until they have done all these.
Podcasting is a great tool for English teachers and learners but with reading the script at the same time (which everyone will do) I feel the value is lost.
I look forward to your thoughts (and what you think of our site!)
It seems to me it’s not an either/or. I don’t think seeing the words detracts students from listening and, in fact, can help them — they might be familiar with words in print but not verbally and the reverse could also be true. I think anything that helps with comprehension is an asset to developing second-language skills.