PSU Faculty Resources

Supporting Multilingual Students

Welcome to the PSU Faculty Resource website! Faculty in the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) have developed this website to share information and offer support to our PSU colleagues who teach and work with multilingual students.

What does “Multilingual” mean?

The term multilingual refers to someone who knows more than one language and grew up mainly using a language other than English.  It encompasses international students as well as immigrants, refugees, and their children. IELP faculty prefer the term multilingual student over ESL student, second language learner, non-native speaker, etc. because the word multilingual highlights how these students’ linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be assets to their own learning. In addition to bringing unique perspectives to the learning experience, multilingual students tend to have certain needs that can best be met through collaboration between TESOL professionals and content instructors. 

Who are the multilingual students in your classes?

We suggest surveying your students near the beginning of the term with a set of questions. You can use or adapt the following survey: Student Survey (word doc)

PSU does not currently collect extensive data on multilingual students, but some of the information that has been collected can be found here: Multilingual Student Data>>

FAQs about working with multilingual and international students (PDF). 

Use of Materials
The materials on this website have Creative Commons copyright licenses, which means you are welcome to use and adapt them. We just ask that you credit the the author (if provided) and the PSU Intensive English Language Program.

IELP Contact
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Anne Greenhoe at

Website authors: Darby Smith, Annie Knepler, Shannon Guinn-Collins, Jessalyn Epstein, Miranda Novash, and Annie Greenhoe