The Propriety of the Native Speaker: World Englishes and the NEST/NNEST Dichotomy

Abstract

Discriminating teachers' pedagogical and professional skills, solely on the basis of accent, physical appearance, and native speaker status is unfounded and unethical. The growing number of English language learners worldwide correlates to an increasing number of nonnative English speaking teachers (NNESTs) and native English speaking teachers (NESTs). Unfortunately, NNESTs have not always shared equal status with NESTs in the field; in fact, until quite recently, NNESTs, the global majority of English teachers, were not seen by many as legitimate educators. Moreover, unity between NNESTs and NESTs seems lacking at best, and at worst a contest to claim superiority over the other. Specifically, a native speaker benchmark has divided a group of teachers sharing a common goal of teaching English, into two species with a distinct set of assets. This article aims to reexamine and implement the perceived advantages and disadvantages of NNESTs and NESTs into a coalescent framework in which both parties can access and utilize assets thought before unique to each group. Specifically, this paper argues the intersection of multicompetence, codeswitching, and six qualities thought only accessible to nonnative English speaking teachers offers one step towards unifying two disparate groups by refocusing the emphasis on the needs of our students. For instance, NESTs in EFL environments who have proficiency in their learners' L1 can empathize with the frustrations of learning a foreign language, and of course benefit from sharing a language in common. This essay seeks to move beyond the native speaker dichotomy and provide students with qualified teachers.



Author Information
Kevin Kato, Kinjo Gakuin University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2013
Stream: Language Learning

This paper is part of the ACLL2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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