Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Learning by Listening - part 1


I’m returning once again to what you can do in your free time to continue practicing your English skills. We’ve talked about what you might like to read, interesting Ted Talks or how to maximise the English you come across on holiday but with modern technology, there’s a whole lot more you could be doing.

So, today I’d like to highlight using Podcasts, which are similar to audio books but are really more like individual radio programmes on your smart phone or computer.

Here is the definition of podcasts according to Google:



noun - a podcast:

a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

verb - to podcast:

make (a digital audio file) available as a podcast.

I’m a huge fan of podcasts and have been an avid listener since they first became available on my iPhone many years ago – maybe as long ago as 2008. In those days, I was a user of the public transport system and had several hours a day of travel that I filled with a rather limited choice of programmes. Since then, the medium has exploded and one look at Apple iTunes where I can browse the selection on offer for my iPhone shows me that there are literally thousands to choose from.

Many of these are programmes that are recorded specifically to be released in podcast form and can only be listened to in this way. However, in more recent times many individual radio programmes are now released in podcast form, often with added content just for the digital form. Podcasts can also be in video form but for now, let’s concentrate on the audio format which I think can be really useful for you to utilise small pockets of time for English practice.

You can listen to podcasts on your computer or on your smartphone, and all you have to do is find the podcast app for your own device and then search for the types of shows that interest you. You can download individual recordings to your device or set up a subscription so that they download automatically as and when they are released. That way, you always have a selection available to you when you want to listen.

You will need to spend a little time familiarising yourself with your own podcast app and adjusting the settings. You can set when the files are downloaded and whether you want to use mobile data or only download via WIFI. There are also settings that allow the files to be deleted when they have been listened to and you can change the order in which they automatically play.

For example, I have an automatic download once a day, when WIFI is available. I play my files from oldest to newest release and they are deleted 24 hours after they have been played unless I select a file to be saved.

Next week, I’ll continue this topic and give you some suggestions on useful or interesting podcasts to add to your own accounts to specifically focus on English, but in the meantime, if you’re not familiar with this new digital form of audio, why not spend a little time this week checking out your own device’s podcast app (or indeed any of the other podcast management apps available on the market) and set yourself up ready to begin some English listening!

Now I really must go: I have several episodes of a particularly exciting and tense thriller to listen to.


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime

Episode 78: Talking Tenners

Episode 79: Do you need anything from the Hight Street?

Episode 80: Just another few minutes!

Episode 81: Counting the cards on my shelf.

Episode 82: What sign are you?

Episode 83: Great if you have a sweet tooth

Episode 84: It's an acquired taste!

Episode 85: New Year's Resolutions

Episode 86: Quick Tip of the week - go/come & take/bring

Episode 87: My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose

Episode 88: Once in a blue moon