Podcasts and second language learning

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This chapter discusses how podcasts that were not originally made specifically for second language (L2) learners can be used in L2 classes to promote listening comprehension and intercultural competence. The chapter first defines and describes podcasts and offers strategies for locating useful ones. Next, listening comprehension is examined in order to identify practices that may improve bottom-up and top-down skills and the automaticity by which these are executed. The topic of authenticity is reviewed in terms of how authentic podcasts are a rich source of cultural and pragmatic information, and when students learn how to find podcasts of interest to them, they are likely to become more motivated and autonomous learners. The issue of how to avoid potentially offensive materials is also touched upon. Finally, this chapter outlines activities that can be done in class and out, keeping in mind potential curricular- and time-related restrictions and giving suggestions for how the above-mentioned skills can be targeted, as well as vocabulary building, collaboration, and pronunciation practice.


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