Callie Lowenstein

Teacher, KIPP Bay Area


Leveraging Language: Research Based Instruction for Our Emergent Bilinguals (AKA English Learners)

What does the research say about supporting our students who speak languages other than English? How do we accelerate language acquisition while teaching into grade level content? How do we integrate the cognitive science literature with what we know about language learning? In this session, we will explore key ideas in the bilingual education literature and understand its applications both to bilingual schools and to English-only school settings.

The session will be structured in 3 parts: language acquisition, content-literacy learning, and cognitive science principles for emergent bilinguals. Participants will unpack myths, misconceptions, and recent research on language learning, including the natural method vs. grammar study debate; translanguaging and code switching; and the theoretical and empirical backing for bilingual education programs. Then, we will explore a few key curricular approaches, instructional techniques, and family engagement strategies to promote content-literacy development across languages (while supporting ongoing language acquisition). Finally, we will discuss applications of the broader cognitive science literature to our language and content work with emergent bilingual students across school settings.


A teacher-leader with a research background, Callie Lowenstein has worked in classrooms around the world in search of what works for young learners. Callie spent four years in international research, supporting Pratham, India’s largest education nonprofit, with curriculum and pedagogy; managing the impact evaluation of a remedial literacy program with the Ghanaian government; and guiding new global education research with Innovations for Poverty Action. She returned to the US to deepen her knowledge of classroom practice in NYC public schools, founding 1st and 2nd grades at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), a Title 1 dual language school. Callie is in her sixth year in the classroom, now teaching 4th grade at KIPP.