Getting Smart Podcast | Supporting English Language Learners

Blog Series, EdLeaders, Leadership, Learning, Learning Design, Podcasts, Smart Teachers

As we have worked on a series about ways to support English Language Learners (ELL) through next-gen tools, we have interviewed over 25 ELL educators, experts and leaders.

Fascinating conversations have emerged.

Bilingual and Biliterate Education

There is research to support the strengthening of native language while also learning a new language. The bilingual and biliterate movement is growing, for learners as early as pre-kindergarten all the way to graduating from high school. There is an important role that parents, community members, businesses and policymakers can play in understanding the importance of bilingual education.

Technological Advances to Support English Language Learners

Technology shouldn’t be used in isolation to support ELLs or any other students. One of the most significant ways that edtech companies can provide enhanced supports for ELLs is through seamless formative assessment feedback to teachers. If teachers can use tech tools effectively in the classroom and use that to inform personalized supports, this helps supports teachers and students in providing accurate and fast data.

Other ideas for edtech include ways to incorporate the four domains of language learning into tools and products. These domains are: speaking, listening, writing and reading. As voice recognition (VR) software improves, helping students get better at speaking English will support other domains of language learning. Tools are getting increasingly better at becoming age appropropriate (i.e. older students have rich content and images that support their growth and interests). Finally tools need to be aligned with rigorous new state standards.

In this Getting Smart podcast, we have the chance to talk with district leaders from Highline Public Schools (@HighlineSchools) and Federal Way Public Schools (@FWPS210) to hear how they support ELLs.

This podcast is part of the Supporting English Language Learners Series with support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more, stay tuned for the culminating infographic and publication and join in the conversation at #SupportELL.

For more, see:


Stay in-the-know with all things EdTech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update. This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner. For a full list of partners, affiliate organizations and all other disclosures please see our Partner page.

Bonnie Lathram

Bonnie Lathram

Bonnie Lathram is the Learner Experience Manager at Getting Smart. Follow Bonnie on Twitter, @belathram.