Adolescent ells improve their academic english while learning about the un online

Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, Chencen Cai, Lauren McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This action research project aimed at evaluating and revising Actionthroughwords (ATW), an online course on language learning through content for high school English language learners. Our multifaceted purpose is to help English language learners in an English language arts class to enhance their academic English language and literacy, while learning online about the work of the UN for health and peace worldwide. A teacher and nineteen students in a public high school bilingual program acted as learner-consultants, with a shift of learners’ roles to one of authority and engagement. Using a mixed design, data came from questionnaires, classroom observation, and interviews with the teacher and eight of her students. All participants responded affirmatively to the ATW site and expressed appreciation not only for the content but also for focused activities to enhance vocabulary development and grammatical awareness. Results showed students’ view of the UN was somewhat positive to begin with and became more positive over time. Participants recommended revision of ATW to make content more accessible through scaffolding and first language support and to offer additional games and videos appropriate for teenagers’ interests and modes of learning. Differentiated instructional materials and strategies integrated with the school curriculum were also suggested for future implementation of the course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Action research
  • Adolescent language learners
  • CALL (Computer-assisted language learning)
  • ELLs (English language learners), academic literacy
  • ESL (English as a second language)
  • Language through content
  • Online learning
  • Peace education
  • United Nations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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