Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Teaching International Students and English Language Learners

International students and English Language Learners (ELL) face unique challenges in the college environment, and might require additional time and resources to complete tasks native speakers take for granted. Below are suggestions on how to make the learning environment a more successful one for everyone, including international and ELL students.



Facilitating communication

  • Clarify expectations for communication such as email etiquette and offer a variety of modes such as opportunities for anonymous questions/comments or online discussion boards; be sure to emphasize office hours and encourage students to come.
  • Provide extra visual and oral support while presenting information such as using redundancy and paraphrasing to help understand concepts, writing key words on the board, and avoiding idioms or cliches.
  • Whenever possible, provide written materials either as hard-copy or through email to supplement classroom communication.
  • Specify and help students understand what resources are available to students, such as the Writing Center’s ELL desk or the Diversity Achievement Center.



Encouraging participation

  • Set up expectations for class participation; be clear about what participation means in the class and set ground rules for participation and discussion.
  • Plan questions carefully; ask one question at a time and allow time for thinking and responding, plan a series of questions to guide student thinking, and give students time to prepare before class discussions.



Setting expectations for student writing

  • Make goals for the assignment and criteria for success clear. Be explicit about purpose, audience, and evaluation criteria, show students examples of previous student work, and allow time for discussion of the assignments in class.
  • Provide opportunities for students to become familiar with the task and allow students time to practice, such as assigning ungraded writing tasks for practice or designing study questions which focus students on the framework they will need to use.
  • Provide students with feedback and the opportunity to respond.