University of Vermont

Center for Teaching and Learning

Teaching International and Multilingual Students

Facilitating Collaborative Assignments

You may have noticed that some of your international students tend to either self-segregate or hang back during group discussions or other collaborative assignments. In addition to any personal shyness or self-consciousness a student may feel, many international students have had little experience with these types of assignments in their prior studies.

Some strategies that can help students step up to the challenge of working with their classmates include:

  • Assigning partners/groups to create a balanced mix of international and multilingual students with native English speakers.
  • Consider assigning each group member a specific role or task so that the expectations for collaborative work are explicit.
  • As students are working in their groups, identify students who seem to be reticent to participate and engage them by checking in with their group progress.
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