Your Name and Title: 

Dr. Mei-Yan Lu


School or Organization Name: San Jose State University

Co-Presenter Name(s):

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: The Silicon Valley - San Jose, California

Language in Which You Will Present: English or Mandarin Chinese if necessary

Target Audience(s): College level faculty who have many non-native English speakers in their classrooms or faculty who plan to teach overseas in the near future.

Short Session Description (one line): Interested in supporting your adult non-native English speakers in your classroom? This is a session you do not want to miss.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):



According to American Immigration Council (2016), more than one-quarter of Californians are immigrants. As a result, many CSU faculty may discover the number of students in their classes for whom English is not a “first language” are increasing. These students may struggle to excel as a result.  The authors will provide several instructional strategies to engage non-native English speakers. These strategies also benefit native English speakers as well.  Hence, all students can be successful.


Our focus is on preparing the class, lecturing, organizing class activities and follow up. The authors also have extensive international teaching experience. These tips and strategies could also be applied when lecturing overseas in non-English speaking countries.




The author plan to organize the presentation in the following categories:

1. Getting to know English language learners

2. General consideration for teaching English language learners

3. Activities before the semester starts

4. Activities on the first day of class

5. Once the semester is under way…strategies to help English Learners get the most out of in-class time (For example, Helping students follow your lectures, etc.)

6.  Special support:  strategies to assist English Learners with oral presentations


1. Getting to know English language learners:

Many times, they could be called non-native English speakers, ESL (English as a second language Learners). In general, they can be broadly divided into two groups: international students and US residents (immigrant or non-immigrant students who may have completed part of their formal education in the United States.) These two groups are quite different in many ways such as Time in U.S., Cultural comfort, Language learning, Listening/speaking, Educational culture and more. The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina has a helpful tip in teaching ESL students.


Tip sheets for faculty to understand common speech patterns of English language learners by Ann Rim who is an ESL scholar on working with students who speak Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, Farsi (Persian), French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.


2. General considerations:

  •         In addition to language challenges, many English Learners may also have expectations about appropriate roles for students and teachers that differ from the expectations of classmates who have had more experience in US educational settings.
  •         Many English Learners may feel uncomfortable communicate with native speakers for help or clarify homework requirements.
  •         Many English Learners may feel reluctant to ask questions in class, come to you for assistance, or to let on that they are struggling.  This places a greater responsibility on you to recognize their needs and to provide appropriate supports.
  •         Here’s a short article that offers 10 general tips for new teachers of English Language learners. It includes a reference list for further readings.


3. Before the semester starts…


  •         Consider sending a “welcome” letter, along with the course syllabus and a questionnaire, to get a better sense of the students in your class.

                                Examples (Due to the fact that many CSU faculty has access to student email addresses before the semester starts. It is helpful to send out a welcome letter to students to briefly introduce the class, tasks to complete to make the class run more smoothly, asking students to complete there CANVAS profile to establish a welcoming classroom environment and more. The authors will share two welcoming letters during the presentation.


            Identify resources that might assist English language learners in your class or on your campus, post them, and alert you students to them.

                        Resources for Non-Native English Speakers (NNES) - Steven’s Institute of Technology

                        Overview of Two Parts Verbs (Idioms) - Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)


4. On the first day of class…

            Considering an ice-breaking activity. Check out Fun Games, Icebreakers and Group Activities from Mesa Community College

            Consider arriving class 10-15 minutes earlier to chat with the students informally.

            Consider to bring a stack of Spartan Daily for students. While they are reading, point out helpful resources on campus.  For example, the Writing Center, the Counseling Center, and more.


5. Once the semester is under way…strategies to help English Learners get the most out of in-class time

            5.1 Helping students follow your lectures

                        Consider give out an outline of your lecture in advance

                        Consider start a re-cap of last lecture to connect with today’s lecture

                                    Speak clearly and example academic terminology and idiomatic expressions. Many EL may not be familiar with American idioms.

         - 8

            5.2 Group activities


                        Effective Group Work Strategies for College Classroom from Cincinnati State. G...

                        Consider asking students to get together in a group of 3 or 4 to maximize opportunity for each person to talk. Have discussion questions posted on the wall or power point in the front of the room for students to follow. While students are engaging in small group discussion. Walk around the room and encourage “quiet” students to contribute to the discussion. At the end of the small group discussion, ask each group to summarize their findings to share with the class.


6. Special support:  strategies to assist English Learners with oral presentations

            Tips for focusing ELL student presentations

For English language learners, it is also helpful to focus on the oral language that will be used during the presentation. This guide should help your students avoid some of the most obvious pitfalls when making presentations to the class.

After setting up the visual component of the presentation and making introductions, the students should

            Explain why they are doing that assignment ("our assignment is ...").

            Tell the audience what to expect ("you are going to see ..." or "we will show you ...")

            Give the audience a task ("see if you can tell ... or "try to find X on Slide 3")



American Immigration Council (2016). The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Golden State.


URL references:

The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina has a helpful tip in teaching ESL students.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: to be developed

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