The Use of Artificial Intelligence in English Learner Education

"The Use of Artificial Intelligence in English Learner Education", Computer with Hands
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Disclaimer: The NCELA Blog is intended to share information that can be of use to educators, parents, learners, leaders, and other stakeholders in their efforts to ensure that every student, including ELs, is provided with the highest quality education and expanded opportunities to succeed. This blog post represents the view of the authors only and does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by NCELA, the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), or the U.S. Department of Education.

There is a lot of intrigue surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education. For educators, especially those working with English learners (ELs), leveraging AI has the potential of allowing them to enhance their instruction and better engage with multilingual families and caregivers.  However, with AI's rapid evolution, understanding the potential benefits and challenges of AI for ELs is crucial to ensure that schools and districts adapt this technology appropriately. The Office of Educational Technology's (EdTech’s) publication AI and the Future of Teaching and Learning: Defining Artificial Intelligence outlines the evolving role of AI in society and addresses its risks and opportunities when used in K–12 schools.

In May 2024, an Impact Research survey found that 46% of K-12 teachers reported using ChatGPT at least weekly for work while 59% percent viewed AI chatbots favorably overall (Walton Family Foundation, 2024). ChatGPT and other AI chatbots are platforms that fall under the category of GenAI, a subset of AI that can recognize patterns in data to generate content.

As an educator, you may be contemplating how to integrate GenAI into your instruction to better support your ELs and multilingual students. GenAI can serve these students in various ways, such as through helping them learn new content via AI-powered research tools, through generating mentor texts, and through creating accessible materials—including materials in the ELs’ home languages. Teachers can use GenAI platforms to support with planning lessons, differentiation, creating assessments, and adapting content to the academic and linguistic needs of diverse students. 

When incorporating technology into teaching or connecting with EL families, educators and support staff can begin with small-scale experimentation. This initial exploration can introduce AI tools into the classroom while providing time to get a sense of their strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, teachers can then gradually introduce these technologies into their lesson plans and communication strategies to ensure seamless integration (Najarro, 2023). AI and the Future of Teaching and Learning: Engaging Educators shares that “as schools and districts make decisions about AI systems, they need to share information and provide professional learning opportunities for educators, families, and communities” (EdTech, 2022).

However, a lingering question remains: What impact will the adoption of AI have on education as a whole, both positively and negatively? It is crucial to remain cognizant of the challenges that may arise with the introduction of new technologies and to implement internet safety measures when utilizing digital platforms. As an educator, being involved in every stage of the process—from design and development to evaluation and policymaking—can serve as an effective initial step in addressing concerns.



  1. Walton Family Foundation. (2024, June 11). The value of AI in today’s classrooms.
  2. Office of Educational Technology. (2022a, April 4). AI and the future of teaching and learning: Defining artificial intelligence. Medium
  3. Office of Educational Technology. (2022b, April 22). AI and the future of teaching and learning: Engaging educators. Medium
  4. Najarro, I. (2023, October 6). What teachers should know before using AI with English learners. Education Week       learning/what-teachers-should-know-before-using-ai-with-english-learners/2023/10
Blog tags
english learners
multilingual learners