After reading a post by Dennis Newson, from the Webheads newsgroup,where he was brave enough to admit he listens to the Archers, I felt inspired to admit that yes, I too am an Archers fan!

The Archers is a very long running radio soap opera and is one of BBC Radio 4’s most popular programs. The reason why we are talking about it is that it has now been put on to the already excellent list of podcasts that Radio 4 produces. This means that teachers or students can download each day’s episode for free and listen to it either on their computer or on an Mp3 player (such as an iPod.)

The great thing about the Archers is that it is only 10 -15 minutes long and so won’t overload students who already have a reasonable level of English. There are all sorts of activities you could ask your students to do with a program like this, here are a few ideas I had:

  • Ask a different student each day to listen and write a short summary of that day’s episode. They could then post it to a class blog.
  • The class listens to an episode with the traditional comprehension tasks, then after hearing the “cliffhanger” finish to the episode, each student makes two or three predictions as to what will happen next.
  • The class listens to a weeks worth of episodes. Each student chooses a character from the show and keeps a blog from their point of view. They write a blog entry each day commenting on what happened in that episode as their character would have seen it.
  • After listening to a few episodes of the show, the students could visit two different fan websites of the Archers: http://www.archersanarchists.com and http://www.thearchers.co.uk and compare the different viewpoints of the fans
  • The teacher could prepare a n Archers internet treasure hunt based on the idyllic country life that The Archers lead….

I’m sure we can think of other ideas… is anyone else as daring as Dennis was to admit they listen to The Archers though?