Teaching international students


Checking understanding:

  • Smiling and nodding from your audience may be a sign of politeness rather than comprehension! Ask open questions to check understanding.
  • When asking questions, give students sufficient time to answer. Don’t pre-empt their answers by answering the question for them should they hesitate. Instead, offer a word or two to help them along.

Other considerations:

  • Don’t ‘dumb down’ for overseas students. Pitch the content at the same level as you would use for an exclusively native-speaking audience.
  • Provide written versions of all teaching materials you are using.
  • Avoid obscure cultural references or those which may be very specific to your own background. Avoid topics which, though they may be generally familiar, could be culturally contentious.[1]


In the next section we will look at co-presenting a teaching session.


References for this page

[1] A number of these tips were adapted from Amsberry, D. 2008. Talking the talk: library classroom communication and International Students. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 34(4), pp. 354-357.