Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Teaching international students

Teaching international students: supporting lecturers in their work with students whose first language is not English

Team members: Joy Northcott, Jill Northcott, Cathy Benson, Lindsay Knox, Andrew Drybrough


The overall aim of the research proposed below is to explore Edinburgh University lecturers’ perceptions of working with those international students whose first language is not English, with the goal of strengthening and expanding the support for academic staff in their work with these students.

Staff development workshops are provided by several organisations across the university, but the particular focus of this research project is generating findings which will inform the development of workshops which focus on helping staff address the linguistic needs of international students whose first language is not English, be this in lectures, seminars, teaching materials or giving feedback to students on their assignments.

The study will use questionnaires and interviews to explore lecturers’ perceptions of the challenges, benefits, strategies and their professional development needs, with regard to working in an international teaching environment with students from different language backgrounds. It is envisaged that there will be practical outcomes of this project:

  • a wider series of workshops offering need-driven and focused support for university academic staff in working with the linguistic needs of international students whose first language is not English, and providing feedback to these students which addresses their particular learning needs
  • the possibility of developing School-based, targeted provision of support for academic staff which addresses needs and demand specific to individual Schools.

Final Project Report 

Final Project Report may be downloaded here.