Natalie, Student: I'm Natalia Morales I'm from Colombia, I'm studying communication studies and this is my senior year.
What are some of the challenges that multilingual students face in the classroom?
Natalie: So, for me, the concept of office hours the first time was really new. I mean I didn't know what it was, and when I came here, my first class, my teacher said like, "Okay, here are my office hours and you can come," but that was it. So it was really weird for me, and then I had to ask one of my friends like any plans, like "oh, what's office hours?" and all that.
What advice do you have for advisers who work with multilingual students?
Natalie: You're knowing how the US education system works, and how do you actually pick classes or if this works, or if you can take that one, is it good or not. I mean, I think, yeah, and I think one of the advice that I will give like advisors will be like, first knowing like not only the classes that you can take within your college, but all the class in like other colleges. Because sometimes we just pick something that is really hard and the level is really hard for us, for international students it's really hard.
What strategies can professors use to support multilingual students?
Natalie: One of the classes that I took, it was in my second year, one of my teachers actually made us do like groups and discuss, like, a topic in Brooklyn. That was really easy for me just to... not talk to all the students, but I mean, one or two. It was really easy for me. And when we had these groups, the teacher actually approached us, and then asked us, and we were having this more like personal conversation with the teacher, and it was like there was more easy and so I felt comfortable and all that, so I think that's, yeah, it's a good idea. Teachers can do that.
How can faculty encourage multilingual students to participate more?
Natalie: Saying words like, oh, no... like, you can ask anything, like, no question is a bad question or a silly question, that. Just kind of like saying those kind of words I think it's good because people in the classroom will feel more, like, safe or comfortable saying something and, yeah. Maybe I don't know. If the teacher kind of like saying, if you cannot... if you don't want to participate, you can also come to my office hours, or we can discuss this if you don't feel comfortable or safe here asking questions.
What other advice do you have for faculty who work with multilingual students?
Natalie: What teachers can do is just to, like, during classes or after classes, or even if we have an assignment about like writing, or something, just tell us like, "Okay, you guys have the Writing Center. You can go and get help there. Or if you need to write a research paper, we have the libraries," and what the libraries have. And if you are having trouble with your English or grammar, you have MELP or other places. They should just, not only saying like at the beginning of the class, like, and before the class starts and all that. But I mean, if we have assignments, just tell us what resources we can use.