F&M College Library

English for Speakers of Other Languages

Tips from Nadia

International students and multilingual speakers at Franklin and Marshall College are a diverse group. Even students from the same country have very different levels of preparation in and experience with specific English skills. Help students identify specific strengths and weaknesses in their language skills - it's necessary to help them know exactly what they need to improve in order to find appropriate resources. For instance:
- Many factors can make listening comprehension more difficult, including speed and volume of speech, the speaker's accent or dialect, use of slang or jargon, lack of practice, and anxiety. TEDTalks and streaming media offer various styles of speaking and subject matter and include subtitles, so a student can verify their comprehension while listening to the speech. Podcasts are also useful for some students, since speakers may enunciate more clearly. 
- A student who speaks very fluently but struggles with writing might benefit from using the "Voice Typing" tool in Google Docs. If they can explain their ideas out loud, then a "Speech to Text" tool can help them move these ideas onto the page; then they will need to learn to revise for clarity.
- Students with strange or simplistic vocabulary in their writing may need some training in using dictionaries and thesauruses. They may not be aware of the excellent resources of this type available through the library; the English Grammar and Writing Guide has a section that explains these tools. 
- When students are trying to write more complex or advanced sentences, they may produce work with syntax and structural issues. Reviewing rules on punctuation, clauses, and run-on sentences may be helpful for some students, but they may also need more practice constructing these sentences and exposure to models of different writing styles. Students may want guidance in finding good examples to reading, and also need explicit instruction about avoiding plagiarism when learning from others' work.

Addressing Common Issues

Library Jargon Glossaries