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Should All Teachers of English be Native Speakers of English?

Should All Teachers of English be Native Speakers of English?

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The discussion essay below will outline a debate concerning the question of whether those who teach English should be native speakers or not. Native speakers who are teachers of English as a language are better advantaged than non-native ones solely due to the fact that they possess good pronunciation skills that are the most preferable to their students. On the other hand, most of the English teachers have good pronunciation. Therefore, for a student to learn this language does not necessarily require a native teacher to give them lessons. The possession of good English pronunciation skills does not obligatory mean that the teacher should have an American or a British accent (McKay, 2003). An English teacher is generally acceptable as long as they can pronounce the words correctly. A person’s accent only specifies where he/she comes from. It does not indicate poor methods of teaching. Thus, in case a teacher cannot pronounce perfectly some English words, the modern technology has brought about audio and video clips that can be used to give clear demonstration of pronunciation of English words. This means that teachers can also use other tools that can help improve pronunciation and teaching in classrooms (Braine, 2005). Traditionally, linguistic theory majorly considered native speakers as the only reliable source of teaching certain linguistic data.

On the other hand, non-native speakers are trained teachers in their country. They overtly have more teaching experience as compared to the native speakers. It proves that it is not always true that since someone speaks English they can teach it in the most effective and efficient way. Native speakers cannot be the most professional and useful instructors in teaching English unless they undergo training in classroom management and English lessons (Arva & Medgyes, 2000). A native speaker of English may be very fluent in talking, but when it comes to the explanation, they may do it in an entirely different manner. Native speakers with qualified education in teaching have advantage but when teaching in a foreign country, there exists a requirement to be able to communicate with students in their native language. Thus, a combination of both native and local teachers gives the best to those people who are learning English.

Both native and non-native teachers of English have benefits over each other. Native speakers possess the natural feeling of the language and know how to use it in different contexts. They have wide awareness of the cultural background and of what may affect the use of the language. They are the most fluent in using the language as provided by the model learners. In the case of the non-native speakers of English, they have gone through the process of learning it themselves (Brinton, 2004). Hence, they know the potential pitfalls and solutions. Thus, they are a living proof of the learning process of the language. Consequently, the combination of both native and non-native teachers of English is the best way to complement the strengths of both of them. Teaching English is also not only dependent on whether the teacher is a native or non-native speaker, but also pegged on some other factors (Bradridge, 2011). One of them is the level at which the instructor is teaching the language whether primary, secondary or tertiary education. These different levels will impact the way they give their lessons. Another factor is the setting where the teachers conduct their professional activity. In this case, one takes into consideration whether the language being taught is present in the social environment or not. As for the teaching of English, one may distinguish two settings (Butler, 2007). The first environment is the one where the language is commonly present. As for the second, it is the one where the language is foreign and, thus, cannot be heard often outside the classroom. In such a scenario, the students, resources, and the status of the teachers differ from one context to another.

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