I'm working on a research project for one of my university's departments that supports professional development and teaching development for our faculty and grad students. We are expanding our resources focusing on online teaching, and I have found a lot of resources dealing with best practices of online teaching.

However, I haven't found much on supporting students for whom English is a second language in an online context.

I'd be very surprised if this research doesn't exist, but I haven't been able to find it so far through EBSCO, Google, etc. Most of the results I'm finding have to do specifically for teaching developmental English classes for students learning the language, but what I'm looking for is resources on how professors in other subjects across the humanities and STEM fields can support their second-language students in this new all-online context for this semester (and potentially next year).

I'm interested in, for example, how can history or biology professors teach their online classes in a way that is easily accessible for students whose first language is not English?

Note that the same issue probably exists for languages other than English.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is probably better on the Language Learners Stack.
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 17, 2020 at 19:33
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    @SolarMike and others, consider the fact that it isn't specifically about learning language, but about learning and teaching other things when language difficulties (and online...) intrude.
    – Buffy
    Apr 17, 2020 at 19:39
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    @SolarMike I don't understand how that pertains? Apr 17, 2020 at 20:19
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    @SolarMike I'm not sure I follow why you bring that up, but it sounds like you'd be in a good position to answer the OP's question, then. Apr 17, 2020 at 20:33
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    @SolarMike Understanding a question isn't the same as having an answer. I don't have a lot of experience teaching L2 students. Apr 17, 2020 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


how can professors teach their online classes in a way that is easily accessible for students whose first language is not English?

Teaching online does not change the students' brains. Use all the pedagogical techniques you would use in a lecture or discussion class that was not online. They will still work.

One thing that can be easier online: you can record your lectures. This can be done for in-person classes, but typically online teaching software makes it easy. Lecture recording allows English language learners to listen repeatedly, at their own pace. Just keep in mind that some students need privacy to practice speaking.

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