Season 1 Episode 1: Commute

Commute – origin of the word from the Etymology dictionary
mid-15c., “to change, transform,” from Latin commutare “to often change, to change altogether,” from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + mutare “to change” (see mutable). Sense of “go back and forth to work” is 1889, from commutation ticket “season pass” (on a railroad, streetcar line, etc.) the US term for a season ticket (because the daily fare is commuted to a single payment).

The podcast can be downloaded from podomatic or you can listen to it here:


The podcast has a number of ideas that you could turn into classroom activities:

1. The Voxpops – What’s your commute?

Lindsay asks the questions ‘What’s your commute?”.  You can use this as authentic listening material, setting your class questions such “how many people actually answered the question? How many different forms of transport are mentioned? Who has the longest commute?

2. Questions for speaking

In the opening conversation Lindsay and Shaun used these questions use them after the activity described at the end of the pod.

Do you commute to work?
How long is your commute to work?
How do you get there?
How would describe your feelings about the commute?
What’s the best part or worst part of commuting?
What do you do during your commute?
How far would you commute for a dream job?

These would make suitable questions for a pair or group speaking activity. If you want more questions you can find some on: and

3.  From our conversation

In our conversation about commuting we mentioned a every thing from getting younger to jet packs.  All  of these things came from articles on the Internet. You can choose the article that most appeals to your class and use it with them as an authentic text.

1. 10 things a commute does to your body

2. How a bad commute is worse for women than men

3. Could your daily commute really make you younger?

4. Will technology help us escape urban commuting hell?

5. Think YOUR commute is cold? The engineer, 56, whose daily 17-mile cycle in -10 degree temperature freezes his eyes OPEN

4. The end of pod activity

Write the letters of the word ‘commute’ on the board and ask students if they know what it means. Explain it, then ask them to make an acrostic poem. An acrostic poem is a form of writing where the first letter of each line spell out a word. For commute you could have Cars, Overcrowded, Metro, Madness and so on. See if the students can come up with an interesting acrostic that conveys their feelings about commuting. You can follow up with the question from 1.

  8 comments for “Season 1 Episode 1: Commute

  1. Kylie Malinowska
    March 24, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Brilliant! Well done, Shaun and Lindsay.

  2. March 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Great start, well done!

  3. kaz kane
    March 25, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Really enjoy it, it made my commute go by quickly!!!!!

  4. Tomasz Skaba
    March 31, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Hi There,
    Congratulations. Spectacular start.

  5. Nick Sheard
    April 16, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Commuting started in 1889! Who knew? A great first episode, thanks Shaun and Lindsay

  6. May 20, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I just wanted to say that I love this podcast – I am featured in it a tiny bit after Shaun’s call for help on an ELTchat forum and am honoured to be included in such a great podcast.
    I’m going to use it tomorrow with my class – an intensive course in Berlin, to which I do have to commute for a long time!
    Thanks again,

  7. January 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Just discovered your podcast series and loved it. Guess I’m a late commuter.
    There’s a dearth of podcasts geared towards EFL /ESL teachers. Thanks for meeting part of that demand.
    Adding to the point of commuting for teachers like me who teach at companies we commute all day long. Teaching peak hours are early morning (7-9am), Lunch time (12-2pm) and early evening (6-8pm).
    When I was a TESOL teacher in Connecticut my commute time was about 20 minutes (from Ridgefield to Danbury) but I’d spend my whole day at the school offices (Literacy Volunteers of America -LVA).
    Today in São Paulo, Brazil, my commute during the school holidays is about 15 minutes to my student’s office. When regular classes are back traffic goes hectic and it can take me 25 to 35 minutes for the same distance. But there have been times when I was stuck in traffic for nearly 2 hours to drive 5 km.
    Telecommuting is great but still many students have some resistance towards looking at a monitor, even having to pay more for their classes they choose a face-to-face experience. Guess my cologne doesn’t hurt either (lol).
    Thanks for the work and keep the podcasts coming. Pleeeeasse.

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