November 25, 2019

By Greta Pauly

Many English language instruction programs focus on tools for vocabulary and repetition and adaptation of standard EdTech tools to help support students who are non-native English speakers. They ensure the inclusion of both visuals and auditory tools so students are exposed to the language in multiple ways to help their brains learn naturally. 

These strategies are wonderful, as they support the use of English in conjunction with students’ native languages to improve learning. 

However, there is one critical component you may be forgetting: clarity of audio in the classroom. 

Here are the ways classroom audio can help improve ELL outcomes. 

Exposing Students to Proper Pronunciation 

One of the most important parts of learning a language is hearing the correct pronunciation to support the written vocabulary students are studying. And it’s not just single words. Students need to hear how words and sounds link together, which syllables are emphasized, and where native speakers tend to omit sounds.  

Classroom audio can help make sure that all students can hear the teacher clearly and at the right volume. 

Helping Teachers Hear Student Language Use 

As students break into small groups to practice English, it can be challenging for teachers to hear what all the groups are doing and find students who might need more practice. 

A classroom audio solution that includes two-way audio pods placed throughout the classroom can help solve that problem. Teachers can listen in on groups and quickly step in to help with vocabulary or pronunciation issues. This step is important to correct errors before they become entrenched. 

Improving Learning Equity 

Many students in elementary and middle school struggle to process information orally. Rebecca Cooksey, IT director in California’s Lancaster School District, points out that their audio processing isn’t fully developed until age 15. For students learning English, that can be an even bigger barrier to effective learning. 

When Lancaster School District did a districtwide audit, they found that very few of their 14,000 ELL students were in classrooms that included audio amplification to ensure that they could actually hear their teachers. To help improve overall equity, they deployed classroom audio in all their classrooms. This change provided benefits to all students, regardless of their English language status. 

Letting Teachers Focus on Instruction 

No matter how much practice teachers get speaking in front of a classroom, it is still hard work to project their voices and ensure that all students can hear them. That is why, Cooksey reports, Lancaster School District's teachers were less tired and more energetic after they integrated Lightspeed’s Redcat audio system into their classrooms. They also reported less vocal strain. 

Classroom audio is crucial for many younger students, but is especially important for English language learners. And with tools such as Redcat, which is wireless and ready to go right out of the box, it can be easy and cost-effective to integrate into school systems, even large ones. 

Looking for more details about how Lancaster School District benefitted from classroom audio? Download the case study. 


Greta Pauly

Greta Pauly

Greta’s passions include both marketing and education – at Lightspeed, she’s able to merge both as the Digital Marketing Manager. Her mission is to bring awareness to technology that improves the learning experience for children in the classroom.

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