As an example, Chinese students have a high respect for their teachers. They are not to question them or in other ways antagonize them because the teacher is the ultimate authority (Flowerdew and Miller 1996). This can be a problem for teachers in the West if they do not know this about Chinese people. This can also be a problem for the Chinese student in the Western classroom because when the teacher asks them to answer a question in class, it can be difficult and sometimes frustrating for the student and the teacher. Another challenge that non-native speakers can have is understanding their textbooks. In many situations, Western textbooks are used and often the lecturer does not use examples from the students culture. In this case, the student has no way to relate to the particular lesson. Flowerdew and Lindsay also point out that many non-native students have challenges understanding the material at a conceptual and linguistic level. They encourage lecturers to adapt their materials to their audience. They can do this by "adjusting their language and by simplifying and adapting what was in the set text" (126).
It is important to also understand that non-English speaking students can have challenges that native English lecturers or professors may not understand at first. Robert Berman and Liying Cheng studied the perceived difficulties that graduate students had in moving towards their academic achievement. They found that both graduate and undergraduate students felt they had the most problems with understanding and speaking the language and that listening was easier than reading, writing or speaking in a different language (2000 28). They also found that the GPAs of these students suffered somewhat when they did not understand the language. In general, the non-native speakers who were in graduate school did better than those who were in undergrad. The difference between undergraduate and graduate could be that the