Back to top

Using Project Based Learning Strategies to Reach English Learners With Elizabeth Leone

Time to complete: 

Project based learning (PBL) is an increasingly popular, student-centered pedagogy that uses real-world application of learning and problem solving to produce deeper knowledge and understanding of content. We sit down with Elizabeth Leone, an ESL teacher and Project-based Learning (PBL) coach in Manchester, New Hampshire to learn more about this approach and how it can support students who are learning English and/or have recently resettled in the US from other parts of the world. 

Elizabeth is passionate about making learning more equitable and attainable for all students, especially those with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE). She uses project-based learning as a way to meet learners where they are with their language skills and rapidly streamline their education to get them into mainstream classes. Using PBL strategies, she is able to simultaneously work on language acquisition, content education, and 21st century skills in a way that keeps them motivated to learn.

Guided listening questions:

  • How does project based learning support the diverse language skills of English learners?

  • What is the sustained inquiry process and how can it serve as a first step toward increased student communication and collaboration?

  • How can project based learning enhance cultural responsiveness and help support English learners as assets to our school communities? 

Elizabeth teaches in a sheltered instructional setting for newcomers from all over the world. She completed her Masters in TESOL and her undergraduate studies in Elementary Education. Feel free to contact Elizabeth by emailing her at and​ follow her class blog on Instagram @ms.leone.ell.squad

During our conversation, we referenced the following resources:

Be sure to subscribe to Highest Aspirations on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Also, please consider leaving us a rating and review on iTunes to let everyone know how we’re doing. This will help us get the word out and bring in more great guests. 

Finally, we love to crowdsource from the community! If you have an idea for a topic or guest for an upcoming episode, please reach out to