The BBC Learning English website is dedicated to helping English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students learn more easily. The site provides lessons in grammar and vocabulary, short courses and quizzes in everyday informal language. The comprehensive learning program covers most situations from chatting with friends, applying for jobs, academic life and business situations.
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6-Minute English Podcast
The BBC website is updated weekly with new 6-minute audio lessons which feature a spoken conversation between two people, giving examples and explanations of the topics covered to enable learners to improve their knowledge of English.
Topics and Content
The podcast topics cover a multitude of subjects, some about tangible subjects such as football stickers and others covering more obscure concepts such as "quarter-life crisis" which introduces students to phrases or sayings which may not have a literal translation into their own language.
Video and Audio Content
The BBC provides English learners with both video and audio content to aid the listening and speaking process. Some of the content is downloadable and some only available in a streaming format. Downloadable MP3 audio files are clearly marked on the website. For video files, Real Player software or Flash Player Software is needed, both of which are free downloads.
Academic Podcast Series
For foreign students who are studying at English speaking universities there is a series of podcasts featuring academic listening and speaking, which are designed to help students get the most benefit from attending lectures, seminars and tutorials. These podcasts can be downloaded or listened to via a live stream. The script is also available to download in PDF format.
BBC on YouTube
“The Flatmates” is a BBC English-learning production which is presented as an informal comic strip. The episodes are available as a downloadable audio podcast in mp3 format, or can be viewed in video on YouTube. There are five different characters, all with different cultural backgrounds who share everyday life situations and problems.
Podcast Supporting Materials
As well as producing weekly English-learning podcasts, the BBC provides supporting materials to assist in the learning process. These include quizzes, grammar sheets and downloadable PDF scripts of the podcast so that students can follow the written words and study the language used at their own pace. There are also supporting materials written specifically for teachers, with ideas for lesson plans and activities.
BBC Podcast Awards
The BBC were British Council winners of the ELTons 08 award for Innovation in English Language Teaching for “The Flatmates” and were nominees for the 2009 awards.
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