Tuning into Radio ESOL

Posted: April 23, 2021

Giving English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners a platform to share their ideas is extremely important to Enfield Centre teacher, Jennie Cole.

Jennie was inspired by The ESOL Podcast, a collaboration between Amy Jowett, an ESOL teacher who teaches community ESOL classes for Hackney Learning Trust and English For Action, who provide ESOL courses for adults in communities across London. 

The ESOL Radio show allows students to share their thoughts on lockdown, celebrate shared experiences and connect with a wider audience.

Lockdown learnings

The podcast was originally launched to give students the chance to express their thoughts on lockdown.

“Although Radio ESOL was initially introduced to discuss the pandemic, I received an amazing amount of recordings from students and decided to make it a more permanent platform which addressed wider topics.

“As part of the show, learners introduce themselves and talk about their lives in the UK. We often share our experiences of lockdown, which has been popular as others have identified with similar experiences.”

Setting the tone

To kick off the show, Jennie introduces the podcast and then hands the mic over to the students.

“Students who are on the show use an app to record themselves, which I can then put together as an episode. However, I’m hoping in the future these recordings will be face-to-face. 

“It’s amazing to see the huge confidence boost in learners who may feel nervous about speaking English. These students have also been able to brush up on their digital skills by creating avatars to accompany their recordings.

“Learners have mentioned that thanks to the podcast, they now feel more comfortable sending voice messages to their friends too.”

A new series

A new ‘short conversations’ series has been launched, which is co-written with colleague, Jennifer Wright.

“Our first episode involves two female characters chatting about everyday life. As part of this, I worked with colleagues across the college to read the parts and take photos. 

“Some of the material was inspired by overheard conversations on the bus, based on real everyday topics to help our learners develop their language skills outside the classroom.”

High ambitions

Since launching, Radio ESOL has had listeners from the USA, India, Romania, Ecuador and Israel.

“It’s fantastic to see how many listeners are tuning in across the globe! I hope the radio will offer authentic listening resources and create a space for communities to come together; acknowledging similarities and celebrating differences.

“One learner recently won a creative writing competition, so I invited her in to read the winning story. In the future, I’d love to have more of this – it’s a great way to work with the library team.”

ESOL learners are encouraged to contact Jennie to appear in any future podcasts. 

Have a listen to the podcast on Spotify here.

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