Using BBC Learning English

You’ll find the link to BBC Learning English via the drop down menu on the Literacy Network homepage: click on Volunteer Tutor tutor resources, then scroll down to online resources and click on BBC Learning English.

The left hand column menu on the BBC Learning English homepage offers a variety of choices, from General and Business English to Downloads; however, not everything offered on the menu is actually available to download and quite a few options haven’t been updated for over a year. That said, there are still a few sections you may find very useful, as long as you have use of a computer/iPad during lessons. Note: Since this is a BBC service, all speakers on the podcasts have English accents.

If you click on the first option, General and Business English, you’ll find a number of subsets. The first of these, 6 Minute English, is regularly updated. Each ‘episode’ – and there is a huge number of them to choose from, as well as a wide variety of topics, so there’s every chance you’ll find something to interest/suit your student – has a script (text) and audio, both available to download. Level of difficulty is moderate. If you’re having difficulty downloading anything, you can click on the Downloads option on the BBC Learning English homepage for help.

The next option, English at Work, could also be very useful. There are currently 66 episodes listed to choose from, covering a wide range of workplace scenarios. Episode 1, which deals with interviewing for a job, is geared towards beginners, and the level of difficulty rises very gradually with each ensuing episode.

The fifth option under General and Business English, Talking Business, is similar to English at Work in that it deals with workplace scenarios, but at a slightly higher level of difficulty. For instance, Module 1Telephone – deals with everything related to telephone skills and extends Episodes 14-15 of English at Work. In all, there are 4 Modules, each with audio (podcast) to download, as well as text – ‘useful phrases and transcripts’ – to download/print out.

The rest of the left hand menu options are worth exploring if you have time (the How to… option under Grammar, Vocabulary and Pronunciation could be very useful for students wanting to improve their speaking skills, and each How to… module has a script available to download.)