Uplifting Student Voices with Podcasting

In our diverse district, we face the challenge of supporting English Learners as they navigate the four language domains: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. While we work diligently to bolster these skills, many of our students still struggle to find a passion for purposeful and academic speaking. I’m excited to share how we are using the transformative power of using and creating podcasts in the classroom, particularly for English Learners, and how this innovative approach can enhance engagement, listening skills, and reflective thinking.

Using Podcasts as a Learning Tool

Podcasts have emerged as a dynamic learning tool with various benefits for students. They not only pique student interest but also boost engagement, particularly through the avenue of student choice. When students can choose podcasts that resonate with their personal interests, it naturally enhances their buy-in, making learning more enjoyable.

Podcasts offer a unique opportunity to develop essential listening skills. Active listening is a crucial yet often elusive skill to nurture in students. Through podcasts, students are exposed to diverse voices, accents, and speaking styles, which can significantly enhance their comprehension and listening abilities.

Podcasts can also help facilitate reflective thinking. Students not only listen to content that captivates them but can also delve deeper into the material through thoughtful reflection. Encouraging students to share their reflections on what they've listened to promotes critical thinking, a skill essential for academic success. 

How to make Podcasts work for you

There are a lot of different ways that you can make podcasts work for you. Below are three ways that we are using podcasts in the classroom.  

How to make podcasts work for you. Whole group, individual, or early finishers.

1. Whole Group Activities: Podcasts can serve as a valuable resource during transitions, like cleaning up the classroom or calming down after recess. Playing a podcast episode can keep students engaged while helping with classroom management. Periodically checking for understanding ensures that students are actively listening and comprehending the content.

2. Independent Learning: Podcasts can be a fantastic addition to reading rotations. Students can use them to gather information on a particular topic or hone their reading skills. This is especially beneficial for students who struggle with traditional reading, as it eliminates barriers to learning. Additionally, advanced learners can be challenged with alternative podcast options to foster their critical thinking.

3. Early Finisher Activities: When students complete their work ahead of schedule, offer them the opportunity to listen to a podcast of their choice. This ensures that fast learners remain engaged and focused, reducing distractions for other students.

Our Favorite Podcasts

Once you start looking, you can find many great podcasts to utilize in the classroom.  I always encourage you to preview episodes prior to student exposure - however the list included below is a great starting spot if you’re looking for options for students. Another place to browse for student friendly podcasts is at SmallTalk.FM. You can find playlists of podcasts sorted by age bands, ages 5 and under, ages 5-8, and ages 8 and above.  

Elementary Circle Around But Why? Story Pirates Wow in the world  Intermediate Grades Tumble The Past and the Curious Smash B

Using Podcasts as a Creation Tool

Now, let's explore the creative side of podcasts and how they can serve as a powerful creation tool in the classroom.

Student-Created Podcasts: Students are naturally drawn to projects that allow them to express themselves and demonstrate their learning. By creating their podcast episodes, students delve into a multifaceted learning experience. Here are some benefits:

  • Meaningful Learning: Students build a deeper understanding of the subject matter as they work through problems and acquire new knowledge and skills while producing a podcast.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Creating podcasts encourages students to think outside the box, solve problems, and explore complex concepts from different angles.
  • Multidisciplinary Approach: Podcast creation incorporates various skills and subject areas, promoting a well-rounded educational experience.
  • Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Engaging in creative projects can reduce student stress and anxiety, as it empowers them to take ownership of their learning.
  • Promotes Risk-Taking: Students develop the confidence to take risks and experiment with different ideas, fostering a sense of purpose and ownership of their education.
  • Develops 4Cs: Creating podcast episodes actively engages students in developing the 4Cs: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.

How to make it work


Shows a flowchart moving from Explore to Brainstorm, and then to a cycle of research, script, and record. Ends in publishing.

Creating podcasts in your classroom doesn't have to be a time-consuming, overwhelming task. Instead, think of it as a series of small, manageable steps that can be integrated into your weekly routine. Encourage your students to research, script, and record small podcast segments on a regular basis, perhaps every workday.

This approach has several advantages. It alleviates the pressure of recording an entire podcast in one go, making the process more manageable. It also allows students to capture information when it's still fresh in their minds, rather than trying to remember it all at the end of a lengthy project. Breaking the podcast creation process into smaller, more achievable tasks empowers students to take ownership of their learning and enhances their podcast production skills.

Are you looking for more ways to Podcast in your classroom? Learn about how one teacher uses Podcasting to empower her students to express the thoughts, ideals, and perspectives of historical leaders by creating well-produced podcasts.

2 replies

November 07, 2023

Thanks Holly - this is super! Appreciate the detail, the podcast links (which will also work for high school) and your list of benefits. Very helpful and for English learners and all learners

November 08, 2023

It's always hard to find podcasts for a variety of age ranges! I've always had great luck with KidsListen, now smalltalk.FM. (And I think the rebrand will really help high school ages students not turn away from the site out of fear of being called a kid. lol)

Maximum file size: 400MB

Insert a video

Insert an image

Insert an image

125: 125
220: 220

This action can’t be undone.

Error Message

Are you sure you want to continue? Your changes will not be saved.

This post contains content from YouTube.

If you choose to view this content, YouTube may collect and process certain personal data. You can view YouTube’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/t/privacy" target="_blank">privacy policy here<span class="a11y">(opens in new window)</span>.</a>

This post contains content from YouTube.

You have rejected content from YouTube. If you want to change your consent, press the button below.