Empowering Multilingual Learners in the Classroom

 Library Resources

Shapiro, S., Farrelly, R. & Tomas, Z. (2014 ). Fostering International Student Success in Higher Education. Alexandria, VA: TESOL International Association Press.
UFV Library Catalogue
Subjects: Students, Foreign -- English-speaking countries
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Chapter 5: Empowerment of International Students

Looks at ways to support multilingual learners and to help them “become more integrated into the academic community” (p. 73).
Suggestions for support include getting to know students (pp. 76-78), which includes an activity called “Jigsaw Survey,” which could be adapted for a Canadian context or specific course content. Activities that get students to interact with one another like icebreakers also build the social relationships which are crucial to integrating into the community and feeling welcome and at home in a new environment.
The section on “Encouraging Students to Ask for Help” (pp. 79-80) has some practical suggestions to help multilingual students to get over their embarrassment or fear and understand that instructors are there to help them.
Many instructors want to be able to draw on the knowledge and experience that international students bring with them. The section “Drawing on International Students as a Resource” (pp. 84-86) suggests classroom activities and assignments that give all students the opportunity to share cross-cultural perspectives, explore cultural differences, and learn from one another.
One topic that the authors have found particularly useful for this purpose is the topic of language. The section on “Linguistic Competence” reminds us that the ability to use more than one language has many benefits, including cognitive ones. The topic of language can be used as a “lens through which to examine topics such as immigration policy, human brain development, international human rights, educational reform, and a number of other topics.” It is a topic that can be used to generate discussion and position multilingual learners as knowledge experts.

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