Strategies to Help Multilingual Learners

Inside the Classroom


  • Use verbal and non-verbal cues
  • Visual aids help with understanding and retention


  • Active learning encourages participation – use small-group settings and incorporate low-stakes activities
  • Encourage questions


  • Check for understanding using different methods
  • Foster awareness of diversity in communication styles, student experiences


Outside the Classroom

Writing and Grading:

  • Focus on global writing issues and clarity, not sentence-level errors that don’t inhibit clarity
  • Use an appropriate rubric
  • Incorporate low-stakes writing activities in class


  • Teach discipline-specific best practices for citations, attributions


  • Review critical reading strategies – skimming, scanning, previewing, etc.
  • Provide guided reading questions and discuss discipline norms in text/article structure


General Strategies & Strengths

Direct to Resources:

  • Are your students aware of resources like writing centres, ELL programming, the Centre for International Experience, etc.? (See list below.)

Leverage Strengths:

  • Share hours equitably
  • Leverage the strengths of your teaching team
  • Recognize and utilize strengths of MLL and ELL TAs – expertise/experience with language learning, diverse teaching methods, etc.



English Language and Writing Support:

Teaching and Grading Support:

Support for International Students: