Teaching International Students

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Teaching International Students

  • Dr Valerie Clifford
  • vclifford@brookes.ac.uk


  • Issues in teaching international students
  • What helps
  • Language support
  • Classroom participation
  • Group work
  • Assessment
  • Academic writing
  • Summary
  • Evaluation
  • What issues does teaching international students raise for you?

Areas of difficulty encountered by international students studying in Britain

  • English language experience
  • Homesickness/culture shock
  • Educational experience
  • Housing
  • Social relationships
  • Managing finances
  • Fitting into UK student life

What helps?

  • Recognising difference(s) in academic cultures
  • Identifying the skills students need to succeed; helping those without to develop those skills
  • Support and guidance before, at the start, during
  • Support / guidance for all in cross-cultural communication
  • Teaching methods to encourage participation
  • Identifying and using students’ ‘cultural capital’
  • Paying special attention to problem areas

Academic cultures ‘new game, new rules’

  • All students find University hard at first
  • Some find it hard and strange
  • Some ….hard, strange and in a new language
  • A few … hard, strange, in English and unacceptably wrong
  • Nearly all succeed
  • When I am in class and the professor asks questions and we have to discuss, I never say anything. Often I think of answers, but I cannot express my ideas well, so I wait for someone to speak for me. I have never asked a question. The other students ask many questions and even argue with the professor. I could never do that, because I do not think that is right behaviour. I do not wanr to be like Australian students.
  • 2nd year Thai undergraduate
  • Ballard and Clanchy, 1991

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