How Listening to Podcasts Helps Students Read and Learn

How Listening to Podcasts Helps Students Read and Learn

High school English teacher Michael Godsey’s favorite work by William Shakespeare is Hamlet. But a few years ago, he stopped teaching his students about the centuries-old classic in favor of a story that was unfolding in the fall of 2014: Serial, the podcast.

Michael Godsey

The story of Adnan Syed, Hae Min Lee and the community at Woodlawn High School captivated podcast listeners around the world, including Godsey. The story was so engaging, he made listening to Serial in real time an assignment for his students and eventually made podcasts a regular part of his English class. He also teaches with episodes of This American LifeRadioLab and Serial Season 2 that cover subjects relevant to the lives of students.

Transferring Language

Transferring Language

Ana Albir describes the development of a digital tool to help English learners in both mainstream and ESL classes

One of the most common arrangements for English language learners (ELLs) at schools in the U.S. is for them to take subject classes (e.g., math or science) in English, together with non-ELLs at grade level. ELLs are then pulled out of class for separate English language development (ELD) instruction. Existing software-based solutions are specific to ELD or ELA instruction and focus on targeting either foundational or linguistic requirements via computer-adaptive curricula.

Foundational and linguistic skills are essential for students. However, these challenges remain:
1/ Existing ELL tools are taught solely in a separate ELL class and receive support in a small portion of the day.
2/ Existing tools are curriculum dependent, leaving the majority of ELLs in core subject classes unsupported, to sink or swim.
3/ Existing tools do not incorporate the most recent best practices highlighted by the U.S. Department of Education, such as leveraging native-language proficiency (L1) to acquire English proficiency (L2).