Interview with Nik Peachey – 'bucking the NS trend'.

expert_logoIn this Talk to the Expert interview TEA talks to Nik Peachey, who is currently a recruiter at an on-line school English Up. We discuss his views about NESTs and NNESTs, hiring policies, and the reasons why he thinks bilingual teachers have an advantage over monolingual ones. The interview was trigger by a very interesting post ‘Bucking the NS trend’ Nik wrote in which he argued that hiring bilingual teachers might be a much better choice than monolingual NS. You can read the article here. English Up has been included in the Hall of Fame for their commitment to giving equal employment opportunities to both NS and NNS. To assess candidates’ language level English Up uses British Council Aptis test:

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You can watch the whole interview below. It’s also been divided to 7 short parts, which you can also find below. If you enjoyed the interview, follow and like TEFL Equity on YouTube here. If as a recruiter you’d like to be interviewed for this blog, please get in touch here. More interviews from the Talk to the Expert series can be found here. For Nik’s bio, please see the bottom of this article.

Complete interview

Interview with Nik Peachey part 1 – introduction

In Part 1 Nik introduces himself and talks a bit about his new project, an on-line school called English Up.

Interview with Nik Peachey Part 2 – bucking the NS trend

In Part 2 Nik discusses how English Up is ‘bucking the NS trend’, and highlights that bilingual teachers are much more popular than NS teachers.

Interview with Nik Peachey Part 3 – market demand for NS

In Part 3 Nik talks about the demand for NS, and we establish that having a mix of NS and NNS teachers might be the best choice for a school.

Interview with Nik Peachey Part 4 – qualities of effective teachers

‘Teaching a language is much more than just the ability to speak it’ – in Part 4 Nik discusses the qualities he looks for in prospective candidates.

Interview with Nik Peachey Part 5 – NS and NNS labels

In Part 5 we talk about the NS and NNS labels and suggest that using ‘bilingual’ instead might be a much better choice.

Interview with Nik Peachey Part 6 – language proficiency and teaching

In Part 6 Nik says that ‘You don’t have to have perfect English to be an English teacher’.

Interview with Nik Peachey Part 7 – advice for recruiters

In the last part Nik suggests how other recruiters can ‘buck the NS trend’ and still remain profitable and successful.

Nik Peachey has been involved in English language teaching since 1992 and is Head of Learning and Pedagogy at the EnglishUp online English school. He is also an award winning course designer and author of Digital Video – A manual for language teachers, Web 2.0 Tools for teachers, and Co-editor of Creativity in the English language classroom. He has worked as a teacher, teacher trainer and educational technology trainer all over the world and has worked on a rage of projects and consultancies for companies including Open University, British Council and Google as well as most of the established ELT publishers. He has been regularly publishing blog posts since 2007 and his blogs have attracted more than 3 million views. His Learning Technology blog can be found here. He also curates the Learning Technology News portal and Tools for Teachers and Learners each of which have more than 30 thousand subscribers.

0 thoughts on “Interview with Nik Peachey – 'bucking the NS trend'.

  1. TeamBritanniaHu says:

    I think we’re talking about different things here. Working in an international context, in Hungary (not online), the trend is actually in favour of bilingual teachers, especially in state schools and certainly outside the capital. I am married to a bilingual teacher who has lived in the UK for 15 years. She has many advantages over me in the classroom, but she also has many advantages over her colleagues, who are far from bilingual in their linguistic competences and unable or unwilling to use even bilingual methods, let alone switching to direct method teaching. They tend to fall back on a coursebook-based Grammar-Translation methodology and prepare students for oral exams by getting them to memorise chunks of text on particular topics. As a trainer, I have observed all these aspects in classrooms, and have even been asked to adopt these methodologies myself. Naturally, I refused, though I do often use bilingual methods in working with lexis and pronunciation.

    As Rod Bolitho has recently pointed out, pronunciation is not just about producing standard phonemes, although early input from native speakers in primary schools can help with difficult sounds, e.g. the ‘th’ phonemes, which are a physical challenge for Hungarian-speakers. Even there though, these do not exist in some varieties of English, such as Irish-English. Dipthongs are also absent in some varieties of Welsh-English. However, these differences should not be allowed to detract from the fact that there are two standard written forms of English presented to learners, even if there are over a hundred spelling and sound combinations. Hungarian has only 44 by contrast. And then we need to consider stress and intonation. In Hungarian there are few changes in stress, and few inflections, and this can make ‘Hunglish’ speech patterns impenetrable to other users of English, especially to non-native users, because native-speakers, including non-professionals, are used to hearing English spoken with heavy accents, or in a dialect, e.g. Scots. And here’s the point – native-speakers are used to these factors from birth, unless they live on the outer Hebrides. Even there, they have access to English-language TV. That is not the case in central Europe where TV programmes may be dubbed into the L1 rather than subtitled. So, the definitions are useful, if used ‘discriminatingly’ rather than to discriminate against one group or the other in terms and conditions of employment. The two groups will never fully overlap in terms of skills and competences. Nor should we expect them to. However, I can understand that a school which sends a group of advanced or upper-intermediate learners to the UK from Brazil to practice speaking skills in the school holidays may prefer for them to be taught by a first-language English speaker in classroom interaction. Equally, if a learner can only access native-speakers online, why shouldn’t they be able to do so? I offer a wide variety of spoken Englishes online, including the several British and Irish varieties.

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