Skip to Main Content Albertsons Library Reservations


Diverse Student Populations: Tips for Working with Multilingual/ Multicultural Students:

  • Don’t expect multilingual students to be the experts on their languages or on the cultures where the languages are spoken; don’t assume multilingual students are foreigners or new to the United States.
  • Do assume that multilingual students are well educated and have a wealth of experiential knowledge to add depth and breadth to classroom discussion.
  • Create opportunities for multilingual/multicultural students to work with a wide variety of students during their group work.
  • Students may compose their responses in their first languages and then express them in the American idiom. Longer pauses are to be expected.
  • Some cultures may consider it impolite to ask questions or to disagree with an idea of a peer or a person in authority; it is appropriate to call on these students and to request the expression of their ideas.
  • Expect that multilingual/multicultural students will make syntactical and usage errors as they are negotiating multiple languages and multiple cultures; try to look past missing articles, for instance; comment positively on words which express cultural metaphor or which are new to any student, such as the vocabulary of the discipline and figurative language that may be unfamiliar to you.
  • Be cautious about your own language. 

Jean Jacobson & Bronwyn G. Pughe

Adapted from the University of Washington Tacoma