This resource provides you with tools needed to create an inclusive classroom community for International students in higher education.

The following four categories of strategies for teaching international students are adapted from Jordan and Ching (2000), Kim (2006), and Roy (2013).

Make Expectations Clear

Students, both international and domestic, do not necessarily understand our expectations of them.

Therefore, it is important to provide written and verbal instructions, in a clear and precise way, to help all of our students understand what is expected of them.

It may be necessary to have open discussions about your expectations as an instructor and why these expectations are a part of your course and the classroom environment.

Model what you expect from students by providing sample assignments.

Structuring Participation

Many students need time to process before verbally offering a response, allow longer wait time to allow all students a chance to participate.

Another way to encourage participation for all students is to ask the class to write down their responses or ideas first.  Once everyone has had a chance to think and write down their responses, then students can be asked to share their responses with the larger group.

It is often beneficial to ask questions that are culturally relevant, but it is important not to expect any student to be a representative of a culture, language group, or specific background.

Create multiple modes for participation that include more than speaking in class (i.e., class blogs, discussion board posts, listservs, handwritten comments, office hour visits).

Designing Assignments

Sequence readings and assignments so they build on each other and become progressively more challenging.

Follow assignments up with debriefing discussions about successes and common problems. When discussing common problems, do not identify students by name.

Presenting Content

Speak clearly and slowly with steady speed.

Use discourse markers to help your students understand how you are structuring material.  Such markers would include using transition phrases such as next, then, after, so on, etc.

Be aware that your students may have different levels of vocabulary so be careful when using difficult vocabulary, slang terms, or words that may be culturally specific without easy translations in to other languages.

Allow students to audio record the class if necessary, or audio record the class yourself.

To help students ensure that they are understanding and recording the class content, encourage them to work with their peers to copy or borrow other’s notes and to provide opportunities for students to discuss their notes or the class content with their peers.

Highlight key terms, concepts, or information on the board or in a PowerPoint so that all students recognize their importance.

Ask comprehension-check questions and use classroom assessment techniques to gauge student learning throughout the course.

Make course materials available to students in multiple formats (i.e., verbally in class and through written documents available on the course website or email)

International Students’ Perspectives of Teaching and Learning (Florida International University)


Jordan, Tina and Robby Ching. “Strategies for Working with ESL Students in Content Classes.” Center for Teaching and Learning Teaching Workshop Series. Sacramento State University. 2000. Print.

Kim, Soonhyang. “Teaching International Students Across the Curriculum: Supporting Academic Listening/Speaking.” 2006. Print.

Note: This resource is available in hard copy on the Help Yourself Carousel near the front desk of the UCAT office.

Roy, Shelly R. “Educating Chinese, Japanese, and Korean International Students: Recommendations to American Professors.” Journal of International Students. 3.1 (2013): 10-16. Web.

Extra Resources

Caroll, Jude and Janette Ryan, eds. Teaching International Students: Improving Learning for All. London and New York: Routledge, 2005. Print.

Journal of International Students.

Lin, Shu-Yuan and Susan Day Scherz. “Challenges Facing Asian International Graduate Students in the US: Pedagogical Considerations in Higher Education.” Journal of International Students. 4.1 (2014): 16-33. Web.

National Center on Universal Design for Learning.

Sovic, Silvia and Margot Blythman, eds. International Students Negotiating Higher Education: Critical Perspectives. Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Su, Feng, ed. Chinese Learning Journeys: Chasing the Dream. Stoke-on-Trent and Sterling, VA: Trentham Books, 2011. Print.