I love podcasts–both in my personal life and to use in the classroom. I have about a 40 minute drive to and from school each day, so I have mastered the art of timing of listening to my favorites like This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Serial, Latino USA, AltLatino, 30 for 30, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Documentary, and so many more!
I love the power of a good story, which is what makes so many of the podcasts I enjoy so awesome. This American Life’s episodes on What Happened at Dos Erres? are still so compelling four years later that I’ve listened to them several times and I’m still working out how I might use them in class. So when Radio Ambulante, a Spanish language show similar to TAL came on the scene, I quickly added it to my queue. You can find out more about the show from Spanish language media here and here. This year I’ve been using Radio Ambulante episodes with my AP Language and Heritage Language classes, particularly for language development and cultural exposure in Latin America. The RA website has several helpful resources, including transcripts of the stories and multimedia resources. They select a story, complete a brief worksheet about the episode, and then they share their summaries and reactions in class; you can see the worksheet here.
My other go-to for podcast resources for class use is Spanishpodcast.net. They have hundreds of episodes on a wide range of topics focused in Spain–from idioms, customs, history, food, and culture. I’ve used several of their episodes, including Gaudí, Paco de Lucía, and most recently El Camino de Santiago.
The episodes from both Radio Ambulante and SpanishPodcast are compelling, rich in language and culture, and longer form listening than what many of our students are accustomed to hearing. As a result, I prepare activities to help them be successful as they listen. I scaffold them heavily at the beginning of the term, but by now they are generally comfortable enough with the activities that I give them more of a guide than an adapted transcript. You can see the Camino de Santiago guide here.
Which podcasts have you used? What other podcasts should I check out?