Free Essay Example: Native and Nonnative Teachers

Published: 2023-11-12
Free Essay Example: Native and Nonnative Teachers
Essay type:  Compare and contrast
Categories:  Teaching Pedagogy Languages Essays by pagecount
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1615 words
14 min read

English has advanced in contemporary society today and has become the most widely spoken language in the world. Learning English as a second language has become a common phenomenon in most of the African and Arabic countries. The English language is an essential medium that enables learning in appropriate fields. English learners' capability has not been promising, as it never associates with their needs, or validates the efforts and financial support consumed by non-native speakers. Currently, a fifth of the world's population speaks in English. Besides, the number of foreign and second English speakers outdo the amount of first-language speakers of English. Such statistics imply that the English language is no longer the privilege of native speakers.

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Nonetheless, persons who communicate in English as their native language continue to have an indisputable advantage over those for whom it is a foreign tongue. In other words, non-native speakers of English find it difficult to contest with native talkers on equal grounds, and this linguistic handicap relates to non-native teachers. Native speakers and non-native speakers seemed to be considered in two different groups. In the present years, nevertheless, this perception has come under massive attack, as several researchers have discovered the ambiguities with which opposition is loaded.

Who is a Native Speaker?

Is there an organized way of describing or portraying what a native speaker is? Or is this a question that is overlooked it needs no thoughtfulness? In current advancement in language teaching, this question looks to be of specific significance and obligated to resolve what a native talker is and whether he or she is the aim that students should endeavor to realize. Nonetheless, this mystery seems indefinable since it is indistinct as to what a native speaker is and knows grounded solely on being a native speaker of a language. This section of this essay will attempt to make some sense of this indefinable enigma centered on studies by different researchers in the field of Second Language Acquisition and language teaching.

A native speaker of English conventionally is an individual who speaks English as his/ her native language, also known as a first language, mother tongue, or L1. The next question is what requirements one must meet to be considered a native speaker. Amongst the standards for native speakerhood, the most referenced is one at birth. This suggests that a native speaker of English is a person who was born in an English-speaking nation. The challenge with this is that birth does not habitually define language identity. According to Davies (1991, pg. 16), the first learned language can be interchanged by a language developed later through the more often and easy application of the later-acquired language where the primary language is no longer multiplicative and thus is no longer first. Singh (1965, pg. 329-333) asserts in the case of a child who has been adopted or migrated at an early stage. In the field of linguistics, native speakers are the power of grammar of his/ her native language. In light of this, a native speaker is a person who has a flawless command of his/ her language. This may not be the case, as Nayar (1994) claims that native speakers are not correct and impeccable in their skills (Pg.4).

After consideration of the definition of the definition of native speaker still is unclear who is a native. To get a clear perspective of who is a native speaker is. The following features distinguish between native and non-native speakers. A native speaker is A person who acquires English in early childhood and upholds the utilization of the language; a person has natural knowledge on the language, an individual can generate flowing, impulsive discourse, an individual is communicatively competent and able to communicate within the various social background, an individual is recognized by a language community and a person who does not have a foreign accent. (Hacon, pg. 184).

There is a massive deal of disagreement over the term non-native and native speaker, and what it implies to be either, there is a great deal of prejudice in the world of TESOL towards both terms, particularly from teachers and students. For instance, upon browsing through ESL job sites, one sees that native speakers are offered preference to the vast majority of ESL teaching jobs. According to Leonard(2019, pg. 703), Most of those job needs little or no other requirements apart from merely being a native, and severe schools feel they are to charge more tuition fees if they hire native speakers. However, this preference is not justifiable. The feelings towards is mixed or having a non-native and native teacher. Leonard (2019, pg. 693) asserts that due to these negative prejudices, non- native speakers usually feel they have extra lengths to cover their non-nativeness by concentrating their accent or another manner to try to speak like a native.

Strengths and weaknesses of comparing native and non-native speaker

Non- nativeness apart from being associated with negative prejudice. Medgyes (1992, pg346) suggests there are numerous advantages hidden to the non-native speakers' language. Conversely, as Medgyes (1992, 346) points out, there are many secreted benefits to the non-native speaker teacher's language. Only nonnatives can act as imitable representations of the active learner of English; Nonnatives can apply learning approaches more effectively, non- natives can offer learners with more details on the English language, non-natives are more capable of expecting language challenges, non-natives can be more concerned to the needs and challenges of their students, and only non- natives can sharing student's first language.

In the comparison of the two Hacon (2018, pg. 178-180) claimed that novice NNESTs were highly proficient at foresting, which words would be difficult and easy to comprehend for ELF learners. On the other side, NNESTs expert teachers with adequate teaching, experience, and knowledge have poorer intuitions on which words are problematic or comfortable for their learners. Therefore, it points out that both expert NESTs and novice NESTs were unable to derive correct predictions, although skilled NESTs were better than trainee NESTS.

Concerning language awareness, a study by Moussu (2006 pg. 147-149) demonstrated that NESTs easily demotivate their learners since they are hardly able to make significant comparisons with their students’ mother tongue. Similarly, the findings of Barratt and Contra (2000) NESTs are usually incapable of empathizing with learners' challenges in the learning process.

Another area that non-Nests have shortcomings in the cultural setting. The choice of language has to fit the social environment of communication and relies on the context. García Merino, I., 71 claims that diverse cultures perceive the world in unique ways. It is very complicated for a non-NEST to instill a subject that he/ she may be unaware. Garcia Merino (1997, pg. 72) describes this occurrence in this relation between linguistic form and objects or incidences in the outside world, as referential relevance. It is common for non-native talkers to use configurations that native speakers would not employ in the same settings. This is a cultural element.

From the above discussion, it is evident that both sides have their strength and weakness. Therefore, natives are not better than non-native English speakers and vice versa. They both need each other in an ideal learning environment. Hence, working together would be a great idea between NESTs and NNESTs. This can bring their strengths into class; the partnership of these groups can be very advantageous. One alliance approach can be by forming team teaching, where NESTs and NNESTs can work together to enhance their students' English skills. Medgyes (1992, pg. 349) affirms that given an advantageous mix, a different form of partnership is possible not only in the classroom but outside. Besides, team teaching is one of the most effective types of collaboration between NNESTs and NEST. In the course of team teaching, NESTs can absorb some pros from their NNEST groups and vice-versa. Furthermore, learners can benefit from team teaching because they can have maximum involvement, and their learning becomes more realistic because of the collaboration of the two kinds of teachers.


It is now clear that the belief that NESTs are better English teachers than non-NESTs is still dominant. There are six non-NEST advantages, which outdo the supposed superiority. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that a NEST is usually better than a non-NEST. It all relies on the specific teaching setting. An idea-teaching environment has a fair balance between non-NESTs and NESTs. One group can supplement the other in weakness and strength. Besides, any prejudice against NESTs or non-NESTs should be evaded in education from nursery to university.

Further, it appears that the teacher's effectiveness, regardless of whether native or non-native speakers, is determined primarily by the demands of the learners, how the linguistic and cultural awareness of the aim language and language being learned fit those demands. Finally, the re-modeling of English on an international standard and the images of nonnative and native speakers is a central element in empowering teachers and learners of English and assisting them in attaining their objectives.


Hacon, J., 2018. The Strengths and Weaknesses of Native and Nonnative Speakers as Teachers of English as a Foreign or Second Language. 名古屋外国語大学論集= Bulletin of Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, (2), pp.177-186.

García Merino, I., 1997. Native English-speaking teachers versus non-native English-speaking teachers. Revista alicantina de Estudios ingleses, No. 10 (Nov. 1997); pp. 69-79.

Leonard, J., 2019. Beyond ‘(non) native-speakerism’: Being or becoming a native-speaker teacher of English. Applied Linguistics Review, 10(4), pp.677-703.

Medgyes, P., 1992. Native or nonnative: who's worth more? ELT Journal, 46(4), pp.340-349.

Moussu, L.M., 2006. Native and Nonnative English-Speaking English as a Second Language Teachers: Student Attitudes, Teacher Self-Perceptions, and Intensive English Administrator Beliefs and Practices. Online Submission.

Singh, R., 1995. ‘New/non-native ’ Englishes revisited: A reply to my colleagues. Journal of Pragmatics, 24(3), pp.323-333.

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