Working with International Students



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In this module, Troy Hicks joins faculty from the English Language Institute and CMU international students for a conversation about practices that help international students enter the academic discourse of Western culture.  Students from a variety of countries explain why writing assignments in the U.S. sometimes require patterns of thinking they are not familiar with or have encountered only as readers –  not as writers.  As faculty volunteers explain ways of making assignment guidelines clear, students pipe in with stories about practices that have helped them in the past, including models, chances for revision, individual paper conferences, and grading that emphasizes the quality and organization of their ideas.  By being transparent, clear, and modeling the writing process, instructors show all students what it looks like when an effective writer writes in our culture.  And by celebrating the successes our international students have already achieved, we can provide the support that encourages their continued growth as critical thinkers and writers.

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Additional Considerations

These short discussions explain the "exit ticket" strategy for gauging students' understanding, alert you to some challenges our international students might face with group work, raise awareness of the need to consider cultural differences when selecting assignment topics, and remind you of some campus resources available to help your international students.     ​

Exit Tickets

Group Work

Topic Selection

Reflective Writing and Campus Resources​


Many universities and educational organizations have posted resources to help instructors work more effectively with international students.  Putting "working with international students" into an Internet search engine will pull up a selection of general and discipline-focused discussions.

Working with International Students App


Benz, B., Kinyon, K., Leake, E., & Schonberg, E. (2014). Guide lines for responding to the writing of international students. University Writing Center Newsletters, University of Denver.

Bond, K., & Scudamore, R. (2010). Working with international students: A guide for staff in engineering. Leicestershire, UK: Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre.

Hesse, D. (2016). Working with international student writers . University Writing Center Newsletters, University of Denver.

Robertson, W. (2005). Writing across borders . Oregon State University's Center for Writing and Learning.