Tips for Teaching International Students

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  • Learn how to pronounce their names!
    • Use online resources before the first day and write down phonetic pronunciation on your roster. Students are typically very pleased that you made the effort (even if you end up butchering the pronunciation).
    • Pronouncing Chinese Names Guide (external link)
    • Pronounce Names (external link)
  • Find out where your students are from and do a little research on those cultures.
  • If students are participating remotely (esp. from mainland China), make sure they can access all course resources!
  • Try to be less U.S.-focused with your examples, slang, idioms, humor, etc.
  • Always try to mix international students in with American students during group work, peer review, etc.
  • Write assignments and keywords on the board; use visual examples when possible.
  • Encourage (all) students to ask questions (ask "what questions do you have?" instead of "do you have questions?")
  • Encourage students to ask you to define words during classroom discussions (perhaps, at least at the beginning, try not to bog students down with too much academic-ese).
  • Encourage students to tell you to slow down if you are speaking too quickly.
  • Promote academic integrity (make your expectations crystal clear; give them the benefit of the doubt, but also maintain high standards).
  • If possible, locate audio/video versions of course readings and post to LATTE.
  • If you use videos, turn on English captions. (This is great practice from an accessibility standpoint as well!)
  • Be prepared to refer them to specific campus resources:

Credit: Courtney Pina Miller, Brandeis University Writing Program. Edited Robert Cochran, 2021.