Course Assignment and Design
As touched on in Classroom Tips, a more effective and inclusive learning environment starts with our planning. In addition to teaching techniques employed in the classroom and online, consider the design of your course and assignments.
Things to consider as you design coursework:
- Ensure that all students know grading expectations up front with clear instructions and a rubric.
- Elements of language usage may or may not be relevant to particular assignments. If they are, assess those elements for all students, not just non-native speakers.
- If you will grade students on something you have not and will not teach them, make sure they are aware of and have access to resources for mastering that material (e.g., library workshops, Writing Center, etc.).
- Avoid using accommodations designed for learning differences to handle ESL-related issues. Doing so misrepresents students with learning differences and lowers ESL student morale.
- Consider providing opportunities for your students to work in another language, such as a video assignment in the native language with English captions. This provides unique learning opportunities for classmates and the professor.
- Allow in-class time to answer questions about assignments when they are assigned.
ELLs face two additional challenges over those faced by native speakers in understanding assignments, both linguistic barriers and familiarity with academic norms.