I would have loved to do an interview with one of my Turkish colleagues for this challenge but school’s here are on a week long holiday so I had to make a conversation up instead:
All, of course, very much tongue-in-cheek but the fact is, I have heard many of these lines used in discussions between/about these two different ‘types’ of language teacher.
I will say at this point, I’m not a fan of the NEST/NNEST acronyms. As Ceri Jones suggested in a comment on one of my older posts, I shall now refer to NESTs as ‘imported’ teachers and NNESTs as ‘local’ teachers. Of course, this doesn’t fit well for native speaker teachers working in their home countries but it will do for now!
So, to answer the first question:
Are Non Native English Speaking teachers disadvantaged?
I’ll give the easy answer: NO
Just look at some of the regular contributors to this challenge so far: Cecilia Coelho, Henrick Oprea (got it right again!) and Willy C. Cardaso – all from Brazil; Sabrina de Vita from Argentina. All interested in dogme and teaching unplugged, all because they are dedicated professionals looking for ways to improve themselves as educators.
And that is the key: we should be looking for ways to expand our horizons as teachers by constantly challenging and evaluating our teaching practice and beliefs. Maybe imported teachers don’t know grammar that well but this isn’t a problem as long as we seek the knowledge we lack and, most importantly, learn how to teach it effectively. Local teachers may lack natural fluency, perfect pronunciation and a complete vocabulary but they can improve as long as they are willing to.
We are not really that different at all. Both ‘groups’ have examples of great teachers who strive to improve professionally and work on their weaknesses as well as poor teachers who see teaching as nothing more than a way to pay the bills.
However, there is a problem: I know and recognise this, you know and recognise this BUT do students always know and recognise this? What about parents? School directors? Ministry of education officials? They see us as different and until that changes, the misconceptions and presumptuous declarations shall remain…
Other Posts for Challenge #6
- Luke Meddings On Dogme and Identity:
- Henrick Oprea NEST vs NNESTs - what is the big difference?
- Cecilia Coelho Nothing more... nothing less
- Sabrina de Vita It all comes down to passion
- Richard Whiteside Are native speaker models so important?
- Mike Harrison Do you need to be Italian to be able to make pasta?
- Luke Meddings Teacher People