Listen Up: Best Podcasts for English Learners

We never seem to have time these days, especially time to learn a new language. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the few free moments in your day to improve your language skills. And what better way to learn English than listening to a great podcast during your commute, evening walk, or when doing your chores. While they won’t replace a great teacher, these podcasts will help you improve your English one step at a time. So, improve your listening skills and be entertained at the same time with these great podcasts for English learners:


There are a few podcasts that are essential for learning English. The English We Speak is a podcast that provides quick (3-minute!) episodes, in which they discuss slang and meanings of everyday speech. Splendid Speaking is for advanced learners and does a great job in covering the perils of learning English. If you are looking for a mixture of everything from science to news, Voice of America can help you learn English by using an array of topical subjects, while introducing you to American English.

Human behavior

But the podcasts you listen to don’t have to be strictly tied to audio-lessons, the important thing is to immerse yourself in English with the topics you care about. If you are looking to learn about the patterns of human behavior, for example, there are a few podcasts that focus on human psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

For an English student, randomness in language is surely frustrating at times since we are constantly looking for rules and order to make sense of learning the language. One of the most recent episodes of Invisibilia called “The Pattern Problem” focuses on the social dilemma of searching for patterns when sometimes there seems to be too much randomness. Looking for patterns can be detrimental as in the cases of the racial profiling accounts in the episode from Hidden Brain titled “The Mind of the Village.” Sometimes the randomness can be thought of as blind luck (or maybe even something more) as this is the case in one of the favorite episodes of Radiolab, “A Very Lucky Wind”.

History and travel

Are you traveling soon or just like to travel? Brushing up on your travel lingo is a good idea before heading abroad.

Podcasts, such as Stuff You Missed in History Class or Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase, can provide anecdotal stories about history and travel. If you ever wanted to know a brief history of English, check out Stuff You Missed in History Class’s “The Great Vowel Shift: A Brief History in English”. In Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase, Betty is a flight attendant who relays stories of her travels and interviews other about their travels all in the context of the aviation industry.

Just for fun

Sometimes you just need a way to relax with a good story. The podcast Tales is a perfect way to do this since it retells ancient fairytales that you probably know in their original version. Their retelling of Beauty and the Beast is frightening and entertaining. If you would rather listen to true stories, Snap Judgement is a good choice for you. The most recent episodes, Unforgiven and Breakfast of Champions, tell stories of the choices we make and how they shape our lives. Lore, is a mixture of both myth and reality by exploring the dark or horrifying tales we call know and looking at the origins. The most recent episode, Carried Away, explores the idea of the curse.

Conclusion – Find the right podcast for you

These are just some suggestions to aid in your English practice. Of course, remember that listening to these podcasts are helpful to train your ear but you will need English classes to further hone your reading, writing and speaking skills.

Happy Listening!

This article was written by Julie L – our English teacher in Madrid. In addition to tips on which podcasts to listen to, she also gives great English lessons, so sign up below: