Have you come across the BBC Learning English site yet? If you haven’t, then you really must check it out. It’s the one-stop-shop for ALL your language learning needs!
Clearly, budget and expertise are no issues for the BBC and this website is packed to bursting with high quality video tutorials and podcasts, all with the purpose of boosting your fluency in English. The majority of the features are Intermediate level or above so they are perfect for improving your English in preparation for your IELTS exam.
Content is grouped into two areas – Features and Courses. In this week’s blog post we shall look at the content and series in the ‘Features’ section.
English at University is a new animated series that brings you the English words and phrases you need to help you through your first year of study abroad, whereas English at Work focuses on English communication in the office, helping you get you ready for your next job.
News Report takes bulletins from the BBC World Service and presents them as a listening lesson, with pre and post listening stages, a vocabulary focus and transcripts with answers, so this series provides excellent practice for your IELTS Listening paper.
Lingohack is another news-related series based on authentic BBC World news bulletins, but this one focuses specifically on topic-related vocabulary, providing you with key words and phrases that help you make sense of the news. For example, a news bulletin about the problem of micro-plastics reaching the waters of Antarctica features environment-related vocabulary like pristine, airbourne, contaminated with a glossary to explain the meaning. This series is really useful for preparing for your IELTS Writing Part 2 and Speaking Part 3 where you have to express your opinions about current topics and are scored on your choice of vocabulary.
The English We Speak is a series of short (approximately 3 minute) episodes that focus on idioms, and other useful phrases and expressions that you will hear and can use to jazz up your English conversations. Let the dust settle, friends in high places and bleed someone dry are just a few of the expressions you are introduced to. Not only will this make your conversations far more interesting, it will help advance your overall fluency and ability to express yourself in an interesting manner, which will be hugely beneficial in your IELTS Speaking exam.
6 Minute English is a long-running series of topical discussion and new vocabulary with a variety of presenters. This series has been running since before 2014 so there are endless episodes on just about any topic you can think of so there is something here for everyone. Covering subjects like poverty, vaccination, human micro-chips, bullying and competition, there is plenty of useful material here for preparing for your IELTS Writing Task 2.
Tim’s Pronunciation Workshop teaches you how English is really spoken, helping you become a better listener and a more fluent speaker. The series looks at features of pronunciation such as assimilation, contractions and elision and each episode focusses on a particular sound. It goes without saying that if you are concerned about the way you sound when you speak English, this is the series for you.
If you are interested in literature and drama, then the Drama section might interest you. Some classic English literary works, like Alice in Wonderland and A Christmas Carol, are broken down into episodes and narrated, along with a transcript so you can follow along with text if you choose.
In next week’s blog post, we’ll focus on the content and series in the ‘Courses’ section. In the meantime, remember to check out our Resources Hub where you’ll find a selection of BBC Learning videos which will give you a taste of what’s available on the BBC site.