Strategies for teaching students with a non

Innovative Teaching Seminar Series - Strategies for teaching
students with a non-English speaking background
During lectures, pause every 20 mins or so to
allow students to talk together and allow
students check key concepts with each other.
Providing thinking time during lectures – pose
questions and then in the following section,
answer them.
At the end of lectures, leave ten minutes for the
students to talk to each other about what the
key concepts and ideas for the lecture are.
Completing a specific ESL teaching course
(TESOL , CELTA etc.) to help inform your
teaching style.
At the beginning of the lecture, being overt
about what the lecture is designed to help them
with (which assessment task or even the bigger
picture; which area of a future career might this
be relevant to)
Limit the amount of information on your slides
–as this can be a linguistic overload for nonEnglish speakers and they will read instead of
listen (and perhaps stop to look up words in
their mobile dictionary)
Providing the reading lists and being overt
about what should be read prior to a lecture.
(e.g. this week you need to read X Y and Z)
.Help students understand that much of the
learning goes on outside of the lectures (the
opposite of what happens in many other
Being aware of where best to direct students
for help with problems with plagiarism and
other language problems.
3 take-aways from the workshop
Early on in the semester, make time to
proactively create study groups.
Eg. Take 30 mins and ask students things like
 Sit in groups of 4 and find out three
things you have in common.
 Tell each other why you chose to study
at CDU and why this degree.
 Find a time 2 hours a week when you
are all available to meet outside of the
In the following lecture make a point of asking
students if they have met up to discuss the
Before each semester / lecture, provide a
glossary of key lexis.
Limit the amount of information in lectures to
what would be difficult for students to learn on
their own.
Providing more scaffolding for the first 2 or 3
written assessments.
Be quite specific about what you expect the
student to include and what the question
means. (e.g. discuss = present more than one
opinion based on your research).
Have an end of lecture quiz- it can be as short
as 5 questions.
Move around, if you can- change the angle /
focus for the learners.
Early on have a mini assessment task which is a
plan (including topic sentences and key ideas)
for a bigger assessment.
Provide detailed feedback on their plan.
Grading your language- e.g. not using informal
language, slang, colloquialisms.