Embedding English language

With over 29% of the student body made up of international students entering Monash through various pathways, a range of different English proficiency starting points is to be expected. All students must meet the minimum entry requirements for starting their academic journey; however, language proficiency is not a point in time marker. It is a process developed through timely and targeted input.  This means the university is responsible for providing students with opportunities to continue to develop their English language.

English language proficiency and communication skills are essential for all Monash students for multiple reasons. They:

  1. Allow students to engage with the university environment and create a healthy social network.
  2. Support students’ mental wellbeing; by maintaining self-confidence and a healthy view of the world around themselves.
  3. Facilitate the creation and maintenance of students’ sense of belonging to the university.
  4. Support academic success, retention, progression and intellectual growth.
  5. Support success and positive experience during placements, work integrated learning and internships.
  6. Improve successful post-graduation employment or access to further study.

Listen to the voices of current Monash students, both international and domestic, sharing their perspectives on English language development. They share with us the challenges and reasons why we need to develop students’ English language communication skills over a course of study.

Communication skills

The term “communication skills” is used to refer to the full spectrum of English language and academic communication abilities.

While the terms overlap to some extent and may mean different things to different people, they can generally be defined as:

As Monash academics, our job is not to teach English language - other resources are available for students to develop this.  However, it is our responsibility to provide opportunities in which students can grow and develop their communication skills.

Education Performance Standards Framework

The Education Performance Standards identify the expectations of education practice at Monash – See the Education Performance Standards for more details.

Impact on student learning

Impact on educational knowledge

Impact on educational environment

Effective teaching and learning

Responsive program design

Student- centred orientation

Professional learning engagement

Pedagogical content knowledge

Education research performance

Education innovation

Education leadership


You could address marking and grading across these Practice Elements by providing evidence of how you:

  • Provide subject-specific vocabulary lists to your students – these could be PDFs that students could download from the subject Moodle module.
  • Include vocabulary tests in quizzes – this could be multiple choice or matching tasks.
  • Reinforce subject-specific vocabulary by mentioning it in your lectures and tutorials consistently, and highlighting to students its importance to the subject.
  • Provide  subject-specific glossaries to your students – these could be part of your slide presentations, downloadable PDF, emailed to students.
  • Engage students in vocabulary learning activities – such as creating their own vocabulary lists, test each other on key vocabulary, report to the class on key vocabulary from an article.
  • Include a vocabulary requirement for assessments – for example, “Your assignment should incorporate specialist vocabulary accurately and as appropriate”.
  • Give assessment feedback on students’ usage (or lack) of vocabulary.

Draw inspiration

Dr Anna Filipi - Teaching strategies and techniques

Dr Anna Filipi (Faculty of Education) shares her teaching strategies for developing students’ communication skills. She uses the flipped classroom model; however, her ideas can be easily adapted to the traditional lecture and tutorial model.