From the article: Non-Native English Teachers
Many non-native English speakers who have English teaching credentials find it difficult, if not impossible to find work at private English schools around the world. Many find this practice a form of discrimination. What do you think? Share Your Opinion
- I'm a non-native English speaker. I'm doing a BA in English Language and Literature and I've lived in London for two years now. I was taught English by a non-native English teacher myself and I have to say that my education was very thorough. Unlike other native English speakers, I have gone through the experience of learning (Standard) English as a new language myself, which in my opinion is an advantage. Also, I speak 4 more languages. I think you're a bit bigoted if you believe that all non-native English speakers live in countries where English isn't the official language. You don't have to be born into a culture to know it. Living there for a certain amount of time is more than enough. Even a simple task like reading a book can be enough to learn about a culture. Just saying. Plus, I'm not being funny but many Brits don't know why Thanksgiving is important or what the recipes are. They're native English speakers though, you know.
- —Guest Lee
A reply to guest Terryh
- I don't think an engineer who is learning English so he or she can work in a country in Africa is interested in Monty Python. Being born into a culture doesn't necessarily make one a mediator of it.
- —Guest Georgios
Non-Native Teachers do more harm than go
- As an ESL Teacher in China, I can say that the non-native speakers who pass themselves off as having a good command of English often do more harm than good. It may only be the non-educated travelers who pass themselves off as being "educated" to school masters who often have a poor command of English themselves, but it is becoming a problem. I find many of these "teachers" are teaching students to speak quickly, before they speak correctly. Students come to me with bad pronunciation, not realizing they are speaking at a quicker pace than their ability, often morphing words into others that they didn't intend. ESL students pick up most but not all pronunciation which is why clear, slow guidance is crucial. It may be the quality of non-native English speaking teachers who come to China, but I have not yet met any I would recommend as an ESL Teacher.
- —Guest xtremebob
Non-native teachers do better work...
- I'm a non-native teacher. I have been teaching English abroad in Turkey, Norway ans recently in China. I have a very good command of English and considerabe experience. I have graduated from University in the field of language teaching and I wanna share my experiences with teaching English. As far as China is concerned finding a job as an English Teacher wouldn't be a problem as far as your nationality is concerned. I could have easily found a job there even though I'm not a native. The situation is quite different in other countries when the need for native teachers is somewhat illogical at times. I've been teaching in Turkey for some time and it's hard to find a job here if you aren't native. Personally I find this illogical and stupid. I know of many native teachers who should never teach and the only reason they do is because they are native. For students it should make no difference if you're native or non-native as long as you speak English well and have ability to actually teach
- —Guest Lucas
- There are distinct advantages in being at least nearly bilingual. Learning the language of the students you are teaching provides excellent insight into many of the things that your students will find difficult or confusing or non-intuitive. Examples of the difficulties that the teacher faced can provide an empathetic bond between teacher and student and selected annecdotes can be a valuable teaching tool. It is also an advantage to be able to explain the finer points of grammar in the student’s own language. The weakness of this otherwise valuable tool is that not all of the problems that native English speakers have while learning their student’s home language will be identical, or even similar, to the problems that their students will have learning English. The responsible teacher will make sure that she knows what these additional or different problems might be.
- —Guest La Rosita
- Hello, The debate keeps opening, it is so relevant to remember that we live in a global world, then both circumstances are important in order to this global order. The marketing of some organizations is hired native speakers to gain more custumers, then it is a good investment, aiming to this purpose; but I think as a spanish speaker both native and non native are accurate, in order to develop all proficiencies, so it is most important to contract experience, titles and expertise, depending of the learning focusing. I apologize if I have any mistake of grammar or use of the language, I would not like to read a bad writting in my language.
- —Guest Cristi
English is Culture, not Grammar. Sorry.
- As a teacher and administrator of ESL/EFL for over twenty years, I'm shocked at the antiquated attitudes and opinions of some teachers expressed herein. To teach effective ESL, a teacher MUST be a native speaker, AND have a firm background in the latest methodology, including TPR, CLL and Communicative method. Period. Those of you who think English teaching involves grammar are simply living in the 19th century. What are the various contexts and for the phrasal verb 'Bring up'?Etymology? pronunciation?What baseball terms are commonly used in Business? Their Etymology? Who is Monty Python?How was the language affected by same?is Fawlty Towers the logical spin off? what's a 'spin off?' did 'SPAM' originate from computer jargon or WW2? Is 'produce' a noun or verb? or both?Give me examples. Why is Thanksgiving important? Describe all the recipes of same,including all the verbs, amounts and processes.English grammar is easy. But if you are not born to, or learn the culture, you'll be lost
- —Guest terryh
Native speakers find it difficult too!
- It is important to emphasize that in primary and secondary schools as well as at university level, it is often the local non-native teacher who has the advantage. Even in the EU, there are all sorts of visible and invisible obstacles for the native teacher to overcome i.e. getting qualifications recognised as equivalent. Only in the generally less-well paid private sector do some native teachers enjoy a certain advantage. Like a lot of other native teachers I suspect, I personally would swap my so-called advantage for those enjoyed by non-native teachers in teh state sector.
- —Guest Paul
Non-Native or Native--Need Testing
- Hello, I think non-native speakers can be excellent teachers because if they are bilingual, they often have "better" grammar, spelling and sentence structure than native speakers, and can explain concepts better to other non-native speakers. I think this should not be a discussion of native vs non-native but that they should test all ESL teachers on language proficiency and use that as a gauge for hiring teachers. (Admittedly, I'm a native speaker that uses, accidentally, a lot of slang, and often bad grammar in my speech!!)
- —Guest Mcohoe
- There is give and take in both situations. The problem with non-native teachers is that when it comes to conversation and originality, they may lack the spontaneity of producing a correct answer in pronouncing certain words or placing the emphasis on the wrong syllable when pronouncing something which there are tons of them in English. However, when it comes to the concept of grammar and understanding the loopholes why some people do not understand certain things, a non-native does have more awareness of the problems and can handle the situation much better. The best scenario if possible would be to have both of them, a native and a non-native doing the work together. I used to teach English in Baton Rouge Louisiana to refugees who had come to the United States. I had a TA who read the text for me, the students repeated after her and then I continued with grammar and other stuff.
- —Guest Vaji
native speakers and non native speakers
- Native speakers are preferably over non native speakers because of their accents and pronunciation. However, some of them may have better pronunciation but they don't have teaching skills which is so important. on the other hands, some non-native speakers have teaching skills but they don't have the accent which is important as well. In some schools, native and non native speakers can work together to help each other and student will benefit a lot.
- —Guest Menesh
- I have always had a non-native English teacher and guess what? I use to say she was born to teach English: she was one of the best teachers I have ever had in my entire life. A few years ago it was not that common this kind of prejudice, at least here in Brazil it wasn´t, because that is what I think this is about: prejudice. I had a terrible Spanish teacher once and she had just arrived from Madri: she had never teached, she couldn´t be perfect! Experience and knowledge: I think that is the real key.
- —Guest Renata
Non-native teachers have an advantage
- the advantage that non-native teachers have is that we know what it takes to learn a second language and are aware of the problems that many students face. For example, I am a Spanish speaking teacher, so I know what problems Spanish speaking students face.
- —Guest Juan Angel Ugarte
Native Speaker Response
- The same situation exists for the EU restriction on only EU members which blocks even native-speakers!!! However, I have taught in all continents except Australia & Antarctica, and have found the biggest problem with non-native speakers is that most do not do prepositions well no matter how long they have spoken English. Secondly, I can teach math as long as it is under 5th grade! Meaning, as long as I know more than a certrain level of student, I do fine, because they don't know enough to ask a question I cannot answer. I find that few teachers, native or non, can explain things well if it is complex grammar, etc. However, a well-trained native speaker has a better chance of doing so in my personal experience. Thirdly, brain research shows students learn best by listening and reading language rather than speaking (which reinforces mistakes --like a poor sports skill). Lastly, public schools are desperate and I cannot have one of those in your country...so go get one of those!
Non native teachers are equally good
- As a non-native speaker,I feel that everyone should be given equal opprtunity to prove what 'they're made of'. Would you rather have a non-competent native speaker or an effective non-native speaker to teach? Even though I can't break through this thick wall used to discriminate us from English native speakers, I give private lessons to students who go to private schools and I'm quite proud to say that, 95% of my students claim that I explain much clearer than their teachers. From experience, I know what problems ESL students are likely to encounter because I've been down that road before and that's a special attribute non native speakers possess as a by-product of learning English. Since teaching is an art, focus should be directed on skill regardless of whether one is a native speaker or not. In a nutshell, I feel this whole issue is 'a subtle mind' and should be done away with. Thank you
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