Empower Your Pedagogy: Resources for Faculty

A key goal of this section of the Global Diversity in the Classroom guide is is to empower GW faculty from across the disciplines to develop innovative and inclusive pedagogies for the multilingual and globally diverse students we teach. This section is organized along key interest areas for faculty, and each area has a resource document that you can download and share.


Interest Areas

Socialize Your Students Into Your Classroom Community

Pedagogic Reflection
  • Try to remember a time when you were new to an academic setting, for example, when you started your graduate program or your first teaching job. How did it feel to enter that space? How did you perceive yourself relative to others in the new environment?
  • Now imagine you are from a different linguistic and cultural background from the dominant community. What are some of the cultural, linguistic, or practical challenges you might face?
  • Now reflect on your own assumptions of the students you teach. What do you assume they already know or are able to do? What might they be unfamiliar with? What concrete steps can you take to ease the transition for students who may be unfamiliar with the expectations of U.S. higher education
Teaching Tips
  • Get to know your students and their backgrounds, including learning how to pronounce their names
  • Create an inclusive community of learners immediately through ice breakers or thoughtful pair or small-group activities on the first day of class
  • Explain the how and the why of your approach to teaching
  • Explicitly outline class expectations, preferably in multiple formats; considering covering information such as: (A) background knowledge required or expected for the class, (B) learning objectives and classroom expectations, (C) instructor and student roles and (D) tips for success in your class
  • Use this explicit consideration of what you want students to accomplish to reverse engineer their learning experience; how can you scaffold students’ learning in your class and create opportunities for multilingual students to engage and succeed?
  • Provide information in multiple formats (orally, written on the board, posted on Blackboard)
  • Welcome — but don’t force — cultural contributions; use diversity to enhance all students’ learning
  • Create new pathways for students to share their understandings or points of confusion (e.g., one-minute memo, muddiest point, reflective writing, surveys)
  • Reach out to struggling students
  • Encourage the use of office hours and resources on campus

Socialize Your Students Handout (PDF)


Internationalize Your Curriculum

Pedagogic Reflection
  • Take a fresh look at your course content and materials and reflect on their origin. Are there voices or perspectives that are privileged above others?
  • What is the background of students in your class? How might they experience your course content? To what extent is your pedagogy inclusive of diversity in the classroom?
  • How does the work of your field – or your course content – reflect global and intercultural perspectives? Could these be built more intentionally into your course plans?
Teaching Tips
  • Recognize that the curriculum in U.S. higher education is not ideologically neutral
  • Get to know your international students and their backgrounds
  • Connect your course content to the wider world; use the classroom as a site for cultural and global engagement
  • Expand topics for class readings, discussions, and activities to include global and intercultural perspectives and diverse authorial voices (e.g., international case studies; analysis of results through diverse political, cultural, or economic lenses; local-global connections; non-U.S. authored texts)
  • Create a classroom environment where students can critique course content and question dominant narratives without risk
  • Promote intercultural communication by arranging culturally and linguistically diverse groups for class activities and projects
  • Embrace diverse perspectives through assignment design; invite/require topics or sources in which students engage critically with diverse perspectives
  • Encourage L1 domestic students to reflect on their identity, question their own assumptions, and examine information from multiple points of view
  • Celebrate multilinguality and actively challenge deficit discourses about the language skills of international students who speak English as a second or additional language
  • Value the contribution international students make to promoting global competence (knowledge, skills, attitudes) in all students

Internationalize Your Curriculum


Engage Students in Classroom Activities

Pedagogic Reflection
  • Picture yourself in a class as a student. What type of participant were you in class discussions and activities? What influenced your approach to classroom-based interactions?
  • What do you assume when a student is quiet or reserved in your class?
  • What role does oral academic communication play in your pedagogy? How do you determine whether a discussion or class activity was successful?
Teaching Tips
  • Recognize that some international students come from educational backgrounds in which speaking in class is very rare; clarify expectations for discussions and evaluation criteria for oral communication tasks
  • Provide opportunities for students to prepare in advance for class discussions or activities that require speaking
  • Thoughtfully pair or group students for activities or projects and give students the tools to accomplish the learning objective
  • Assign roles and/or tasks to make the discussion more productive and allow more participation (e.g., planning and leading a discussion; panel discussions; partner or group interviews, reporting on what was discussed)
  • Ask questions that allow for multiple perspectives; evaluate how you frame your questions to ensure they are clear and invite the type of response you expect
  • Facilitate the discussion by balancing contributions (e.g., gently cutting off students who dominate the discussion and/or inviting the contributions of quieter students)
  • Focus on your own responses in classroom discussions (e.g., validating, reinforcing, recasting, writing what was said, restating, asking follow-up questions); increase wait time so multilingual students can prepare to respond
  • Promote “noticing” in class discussions, for example, writing key points on the board during the discussion so that students can understand what others have said and have ideas/vocabulary to build on when they speak
  • Avoid calling out international students to “represent” the perspective of their cultural or linguistic group; intervene if something inappropriate is said; allow students to save face if they are visibly uncomfortable when called upon to speak
  • Consider moving discussions online so multilingual students have more time to prepare and respond (e.g. Discussion Board, Voice Thread); explore multimedia assignments or digital presentations rather than oral presentations during class time

Engage Students in Classroom Activities Handout (PDF)


Create Space for LGBTQ+ International Students

Pedagogic Reflection
  • When international students are in your classes, what identity is the first one you tend to ascribe to them and why?
  • Consider the lived experience of LGBTQ+ students who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. How might their experiences be shaped by these backgrounds and/or by the intersection of these backgrounds with U.S. higher education?
Teaching Tips
  • Begin by critically reflecting on your own knowledge and assumptions about LGBTQ+-related issues.
  • Understand that LGBTQ+ lives and issues are not monolithic. The U.S. queer experience is not the same as queer experiences globally. This awareness prevents us from being overly reductive when we attempt to reflect LGBTQ+ lives and issues in our courses.
  • Be aware of the culturally ingrained ways that we embody our homosocial relationships and avoid making assumptions about your students’ sexual identities based on how they behave around their friends in class or around campus.
  • Respect students' right to their names and pronouns.
  • Respect students’ right to self-disclose aspects of their sexual identity in the classroom — just because they are willing to discuss these issues in an essay only you read does not mean that they want to share that information with the rest of the class.
  • Consider how you can work with your students to come to a place of respectful engagement with LGBTQ+ themes and topics. Initiate a discussion near the start of term about inclusivity and how it relates to your expectations and course content.
  • Find space throughout your curriculum to include LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives, particularly those from other parts of the world.
  • Model active listening, empathy, and respectful engagement for your students in your classroom practices.
  • Teach your students to engage in critical reading and discussion in a way that values disparate world views.
  • Be prepared to listen and support LGBT+ international students who may have limited opportunities to talk about their experiences and concerns; connect them to GW resources (e.g., the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center) or supportive communities (Allied in Pride) where appropriate.

Create Space for LGBTQ+ Students Handout (PDF)


Expand Your Capacity for Linguistically Responsive Instruction

Pedagogic Reflection
  • How did you learn the style of writing or speaking that is valued in your field?
  • Imagine writing a paper or doing an oral presentation in another language. What do you imagine might be the most challenging for you when it comes to sentence-level production and language use?
  • Look at a few things you have written for your field and/or what you perceive to be high-quality pieces of writing from students you teach. What makes this writing “high quality?” Can you test your ability to analyze the sentence-structure and language use in order to describe them?
Teaching Tips
  • Don’t assume students who struggle with “standard academic English” in their writing or speaking lack intelligence or have not put effort into their work
  • Read/listen for understanding and not for errors; increase tolerance for “writing/speaking with an accent”
  • Collectively analyze model texts (written or oral genres) that you expect your students to produce in order to identify their language features
  • Encourage the use of students’ first language in the planning and drafting phases of writing or speaking assignments
  • For oral presentations, consider allowing students to submit a digital version of a presentation with audio narration either in lieu of or in addition to an in-class presentation so that students develop better control over their language use
  • Build your foundational understanding of academic grammar and sentence construction so that you can provide instruction and feedback to your students
  • Familiarize yourself with common patterns of error in second-language writing and develop explanations and/or a template of stock comments and resource recommendations
  • Develop feedback practices that support students’ sentence-level writing, for example giving sentence-level feedback on one or two paragraphs; identifying the three most common patterned errors being made; or using a highlighter to alert students to phrasing or word choices that make the text hard to understand
  • Develop and share a “corpus” of keywords and vocabulary students that should be familiar with for your course, along with examples of use in context; or have students collectively develop such a corpus
  • Get to know tools for understanding language in use in context (e.g. Corpus of Contemporary American English, the Michigan Corpora) or sentence-level writing support (e.g. Grammarly) and encourage students to use them


Support Multilingual Writers

Pedagogic Reflection
  • Think back on your own early experiences as an academic writer. What do you remember about this experience and how you felt?
  • Now imagine you are from a different linguistic and cultural background from the dominant community. What are some of the cultural, linguistic, or practical challenges you might face in writing assignments at a U.S. university? How is the use of sources/citation of sources managed in your disciplinary context?
  • When students enter your classroom, what do you assume they already know or are able to do when it comes to writing? What might they be unfamiliar with? What genres are key to your course or discipline? How can you support students as they encounter these genres for the first time?
Teaching Tips
  • Familiarize yourself with intercultural approaches to communication and writing (intercultural rhetoric). Don’t assume that international students know the preferences and conventions of academic English writing or that our rhetorical style is inherently logical. International students come from equally strong writing (and cultural) traditions, so be careful not to devalue this aspect of their backgrounds.
  • Some international students enter U.S. universities only familiar with a five-paragraph TOEFL essay and need support in building genre and rhetorical awareness. Help students understand the genres they are being asked to consume or produce in your class, considering purpose, audience, interaction with sources, rhetorical structure, and language use expectations.
  • Think about the needs and experiences of international students when you design assignments. Consider expanding options for writing topics to include non-U.S. perspectives and be sure to provide explicit instruction about topic and assignment expectations and evaluation criteria. It may be a good idea to ask students to “re-write” each assignment prompt for you in their own words or map their strategy for completing the assignment. Also, be aware of the wording you use in assignment prompts, which can inadvertently be biased (linguistically or culturally) against international students who speak English as a second or additional language.
  • Emphasize writing as a process and break down major writing tasks into manageable steps with guidance and feedback along the way. Templates, the analysis of model texts, planning or organizational frameworks, and multiple drafts with feedback and revision are very useful for second language writers.
  • Make transparent your expectations for source use and provide explicit guidance in working with and citing sources, for example:
    1. Identifying and evaluating sources
    2. Assessing rhetorical situations
    3. Strategic, critical, and efficient reading processes (e.g., reading frameworks)
    4. Targeting what to “use” for writing and situating one’s ideas in conversation with other sources to develop a writerly voice
    5. Understanding academic integrity and adhering to citation conventions
  • Be aware that it takes most second language writers much longer to complete any task. Even relatively informal writing tasks, such as Discussion Board posts, may be taken very seriously.
  • What you perceive to be simplistic language choices are often the result of vocabulary limitations. Many second language writers agonize over single words and phrases. Teach students to notice language use in context when reading texts in your class and then put this language to use in their own writing.
  • When offering feedback on writing, prioritize comments that reflect the assignment’s rhetorical and content expectations. If you have concerns about sentence-level writing, try to set up a realistic feedback arrangement. For example, focus on 2-3 patterned grammar errors or identify errors in a couple of paragraphs but not the entire paper. Second language writers may also struggle to interpret feedback comments. Pay attention to the vocabulary choices and use of idiomatic expressions in your comments, as well as advice that is indirect or may be difficult to interpret.
  • In terms of evaluation, the general best practice in the field of second language writing is a tolerance for “writing with an accent” rather than a punitive approach to sentence-level errors. Errors that interfere with comprehensibility should be focused on more than those that do not. Also remember that errors that native English-speaking students can catch easily by proofreading may be missed by second language writers. Don’t assume that remaining errors mean they have not put effort into editing or proofreading.
  • Consider allowing second language writers an “extra” draft or an extra conference opportunity, or partner international student writers with supportive classmates for peer review. Encourage students to take advantage of the GW Writing Center and to establish regular appointments with a peer consultant with whom they feel comfortable.

Support Multilingual Writers Handout (PDF)


Promote Academic Integrity

Pedagogic Reflection
  • Where/when did you learn about the importance of attribution of sources?
  • What do typical English-speaking domestic students come into the university already having an awareness of?
  • How is the use of sources/citation of sources managed in your disciplinary context?
  • When you suspect a student of an academic integrity violation, such as plagiarism, what is your first assumption? How do you typically manage a perceived violation of academic integrity?
Teaching Tips
  • Recognize differences in students’ cultural and educational backgrounds: a) Exam-driven education systems; writing papers not as common, b) Knowledge transfer: memorization and reproducing existing knowledge; criticality and individual voice may not be encouraged, c) Intellectual ownership and textual borrowing as unfamiliar concepts
  • Acknowledge that expectations for source use are bound by culture and discipline; clarify your expectations and “guide” your students in meeting them
  • Reorient from negative/punitive approach (plagiarism) to a positive one (academic integrity)
  • Frame source use and citation as “literacy practice” and not merely ethical or ideological issue: Incorporating and citing sources responsibility is an acquired academic literacy skill (most students are new to this discourse community and just beginning to develop these skills)
  • Focus on mutually reinforcing dimensions of academic integrity because students need to understand the how and the why of source use: a) Principles (understanding why this is a value in U.S.-based educational contexts), b) Policies (GW Student Code of Conduct; syllabus policies), c) Contextual expectations (discipline, assignment, etc.), d) Skills (summarizing, quoting, paraphrasing, generalizing, citing, recognizing common knowledge)
  • Teach students to “notice” use in context and model citation practices before asking students to produce their own texts
  • Assign structured short assignments to scaffold skills; create original assignment prompts for research-based papers
  • Provide feedback (on drafts and in final paper evaluation) that assesses the extent to which writing meets academic integrity expectations
  • Recognize that most plagiarism is inadvertent; be judicious in your use of plagiarism software
  • Use initial instances of perceived plagiarism as teaching moments, with consequences for repeated or egregious instances of plagiarism.

Promote Academic Integrity Handout (PDF)


Working With Graduate Student Writers

The needs and experiences of graduate students can be very different from those of undergraduate students. This document created by Purdue University will help orient you to working with graduate student writers, both domestic and international.

Working With Graduate Student Writers Faculty Guide (PDF)


Resources: Online and Hybrid Teaching

These guides were designed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so you can better support and engage international students who may need to take your class in an online or hybrid modality.

Faculty Resources: Global Diversity in the Classroom