Orr, Kevin (2008) Working with non-native English speaker students on mainstream courses: a guide to good practice. Manual. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield. (Unpublished)
Abstract

The University of Huddersfield has benefited from an increase in the number of foreign students who have brought our courses and campus an international dimension and so provided a global perspective for British students unable or unwilling to study abroad. However, the increase in non-native English speakers (NNESs) has brought challenges for tutors who want to make their courses accessible and engaging for all of their students.

This guide derives from a University Teaching and Learning Project which considered issues related to the use of English by NNES students. Having researched the experience and opinions of NNES students and staff who work with them, it seeks to identify and disseminate good practice for tutors that will benefit NNES students, without adversely affecting native English speakers. The full project report is available for anyone who is interested.

The emphasis here is on the use of English, although to divide language from broader concepts of culture, identity and thought is highly questionable, and entails arbitrary distinctions. Similarly, the important area of internationalisation of the curriculum is beyond the scope of this guide. Nevertheless, this restricted focus on language allows tutors to at least begin to analyse their courses so as to open them up to NNESs, without detriment to native English speakers.

The points for consideration below relate to two areas:

• The period prior to the start of a University course, including the setting of linguistic entry requirements

• Teaching strategies

The suggestions and questions that follow are only tentative because staff know their own courses. Local contingencies and exigencies affect what practice is possible, and what works successfully, so this guide is primarily intended to open a discussion within course teams about working with NNES students.

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