Tips for Joining in Class Discussions When English Isn’t Your First Language

Just because English isn’t your first language doesn’t mean you should be left out of classroom discussions. Although it may be scary at first, following these tips may make classroom conversations much simpler.

Practice Speaking One-on-One

People sitting in a class

Practice makes perfect, but jumping into speaking a foreign language in a group setting can be frightening. Instead, try practicing your English one-on-one with a friend or loved one, preferably someone who is fluent in English. This can allow you to practice the language in a relaxed environment before speaking with new classmates.

Reach Out to Classmates

Even if English isn’t their first language, many students will understand what it’s like to be the odd man out. By reaching out to classmates and informing them that English isn’t your first language, you may find peers who are willing to practice with you outside of class or even help you during in-class discussions.

Meet With Your Instructor

In many classroom settings, instructors may think a lack of participation is a sign of disinterest or laziness from a student. To prevent this from happening, it’s a good idea to meet with your instructor one-on-one at the beginning of the course. During this time, you can introduce yourself, explain where you are from, and inform instructors that English is not your first language. This way, instructors can be more accommodating, and you can reach out to them throughout the semester if you’re struggling.

Take Courses With an ESL Instructor

Taking language courses with a certified instructor before enrolling in other courses can be very helpful. In addition to increasing fluency and widening your vocabulary, it can also make you feel more comfortable talking, writing, and reading English. This is helpful not only to participate in group discussions but also to prevent falling behind in the class because you don’t understand.

Discussion participation is a crucial part of taking courses and learning English. If you need help getting started, register for courses at ALCC American Language online today!

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