Approximately 40 percent of CUNY undergraduates speak a language other than English at home, and with 174 different languages spoken across campuses, CUNY is one of the most linguistically diverse universities in the nation. Are you looking for ways to leverage this multilingualism in your classroom? Do you want to better support your non-native English speaking students? Or are you an international student teaching, or getting ready to teach, but who finds the prospect of teaching in English daunting?

Please join the Teaching and Learning Center for a workshop on languages at CUNY. Multilingualism is an asset in the classroom, and in this workshop we’ll discuss and strategize ways to support and improve our students’ learning by leveraging their–and our own–diverse language backgrounds.

We’ll discuss three different types of non-native English speakers–international students, recent immigrants, and Generation 1.5 students–and reflect on how our classroom practices might support and build upon their language skills. We’ll also consider ways in which international or multilingual instructors can enhance their teaching using their linguistic backgrounds. We’ll share sample activities and (re-)design activities or assignments for our own classes (bring them!) that takes full advantages of the wide range of language spoken by ourselves and our students.

This workshop was offered in Fall 2017 as an in-person workshop at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The workshop and materials were developed by Anke Geertsma.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans and resources.

Materials Folder: Languages Workshop

Workshop Plan

Intro Activity:My Name, My Identity” (10-15 mins)

Part I: Multilingual Students (1 hr)

  1. Languages at CUNY:
    • definitions (ESL vs. ELL vs. NNES / NNS vs. multilingual students / emergent bilingual)
    • NNS at CUNY data
    • categories of NNS at CUNY (foreign/international students vs. recent immigrants vs. 1.5 generation) and differences in language use
  2. Supporting multilingual students in your class:
    • including section on how to respond to NNS writing
  3. Leveraging multilingualism in your class:
    • sample activities (Great Works, …)
    • translanguaging: linguistic systems vs. languages

Part II: Multilingual Instructors (45 mins)

  1. Strategies for teaching as NNS
  2. Using your languages in your teaching.