September 09, 2004

International Students

I'm currently updating a handbook for one of my courses, and I'm finding it a challenge to pay attention to details that will help students for whom English is not their first language. When adverse consequences from choosing a particular phrase is pointed out to you, it's easy to see why some students struggle to understand, but spotting the potential problems in advance is tricky! Some examples:
  • Avoid using sarcasm.
  • Try to avoid phrasing something using negatives like "don't", if the overall sentence can be expressed more clearly without them. For example, instead of "If you don't sign the form then your work may not get marked." try something like "To get your work marked, make sure you sign the form." if that form ofwords is suitable for its purpose.
  • Take care when using words with two or more meanings. For example if you ask students to "submit your assignment by 5pm", "submit" can also conjure upimages of surrender, which can be rather negative for some people.
Maybe one day if I acquire any blog readers, some of them will be kind enough to leave comments adding more suggestions?


Post a Comment

<< Home