Tips on Teaching

Teaching International Students

Reinert Center typeset_icon_2014_solid_082214by Gina Merys, Associate Director, Reinert Center

As we look ahead to the fall semester, and the arrival of the first official cohort of INTO students arriving in our classrooms, the summer is a good time to think about making changes to courses in order to promote learning for all of our students. The book, Fostering International Student Success in Higher Education (Sapiro, Farrelly, and Tomas, 2014)*, acts as a brief primer on some of the topics one might consider when designing a course with international student needs in mind.

The authors integrate “concepts from intercultural communication, applied linguistics, and education as part of the theoretical framework of the text.” There is information drawn from the scholarship of teaching and learning as well as directly from instructors and international students. Written in the style of a how-to text of sorts, the book gives tips and techniques on everything from interactions during class time, to creating assignments, to giving feedback. The textbook style of the book includes a myriad of examples and suggestions within each topic, reflection questions, and pithy anecdotes as well as an appendix with sample rubric templates and a helpful chart of classroom activities.

Perhaps what I appreciate most about this book is this: the considerations the authors note for course design to promote success for international students are also helpful to all students, especially those who have learning differences, are first-generation to college, or have divergent educational backgrounds. Thus, making changes to one’s course to foster learning for one group of students actually fosters learning for all students.

The Reinert Center staff are on campus all summer to serve as resources for all SLU faculty and graduate students on the topic of teaching international students as well as other teaching topics. To make an appointment with one of our staff simply fill out the teaching consultation request form using this link.

*Shapiro, Shawna, Raichle Farrelly, and Zuzana Tomas. Fostering International Student Success in Higher Education. Alexandria: TESOL Press, 2014.