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Multilingual Students

English language learners come from diverse backgrounds and have a variety of educational experiences. By understanding our student populations and integrating inclusive teaching practices into your classroom, you can contribute to multilingual student success at CSUSB. Many of the insights shared in the Faculty section of this website were developed by Gail Shuck, Coordinator of the English Language Support Program at Boise State University. Our thanks to Dr. Shuck and Boise State University.

Who Are CSUSB’s Multilingual Students?

CSUSB’s multilingual student population includes both international students, U.S. resident learners of English, and students who speak other languages at home. According to a 2016 CSUSB first-time freshman survey, approximately 20% of students reported a language other than English as their primary language. Learn more about our most represented populations below:

International Students

CSUSB is host to degree-seeking and exchange students from more than 50 countries around the world, with the highest concentration of students coming from:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • China
  • South Korea

U.S. Resident Learners of English

  • Refugees from Cambodia, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia West, Iraq, Mexico, Nepal, Syria, and Zimbabwe.
  • Immigrants from Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, and other countries
  • U.S.-Born Citizens who speak a language other than English at home

The insights and techniques provided on this site benefit a wide range of students from diverse backgrounds and offer benefits for all students, regardless of status, country of origin or native language.

Contact the English Language Support Center to consult with us about how to incorporate more inclusive practices into your classroom.

Understanding Linguistic Diversity

  • Linguistic diversity, which is characterized by a diverse population of speakers who are proficient in a language other than English, adds value to higher education.
  • Varieties of world Englishes are spoken globally. In an increasingly interconnected world, a variety of Englishes is and will continue to be prevalent. There is no one “correct” English.
  • The acquisition of language is a lifelong learning process, thus, the goal of instruction should not be based on correction with the hopes of entirely assimilating the student’s language use.
  • Avoid the “myth of transience” (Rose, 1985, qtd in Zamel 1995) which holds to the false notion that students’ language challenges are temporary. Instead, faculty can integrate continuing language support into content learning in a successful way.
  • Focus on areas where meaning is not conveyed clearly in students’ writing and work to help them be effective in the rhetorical context of academic communication.

Linguistic Flexibility

With an understanding of linguistic diversity, we can turn our attention to how this can inform our teaching practices. In the classroom, we can model and demonstrate linguistic flexibility. To demonstrate the mindset of linguistic flexibility consider the following:

  • Having empathy for language learners;
  • Valuing linguistic variation (dialects, accents, genres, disciplinary differences);
  • Sharing responsibility for good communication (as readers, writers, speakers, and listeners):
    • Being a patient listener and reader;
    • Providing course content in multiple ways (visual, oral, written).
  • Drawing on students’ various kinds of knowledge–including knowledge of other languages–and seeing it as a resource for all to learn from.
  • Modeling clear communication;
  • Guiding all students in facilitating good communication (especially in small groups);

Helping with language development, not holding non-native speakers to an unrealistic (and constantly changing) U.S.-based standard.