TESOL Spain position statement against discrimination

Recently, TESOL Spain has issued a position statement against discrimination in ELT, opposing job ads that require the candidate to be a ‘native speaker’, have ‘native-like’ fluency, or speak with ‘standard’ English. I had a chance to talk to the current president of TESOL Spain, Annie Altamirano, to find out a bit more about the statement and why it was issued. We also had a chat about how TESOL Spain is planning to put the statement into practice, promoting equality in Spanish ELT and supporting both their ‘native’ and ‘non-native speaker’ members. We finished off by talking about ELT in Spain and what still needs to be done so that teachers are recruited and valued based on their skills, rather than their first language.

In compliance with Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, TESOL-SPAIN stands in opposition to discrimination against teachers on the basis of their national, ethnic or linguistic background, religion, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation, in terms of hiring, promotion, recruitment for jobs, or employment conditions.

With respect to the common, long-standing notion, unsupported by research, that a certain ethnicity, accent, or national background gives a person an advantage as a teacher of English, TESOL-SPAIN firmly believes that all teachers should be evaluated and valued solely on the basis of their teaching competence, teaching experience, formal education and linguistic expertise. Therefore, TESOL-SPAIN does not condone job announcements that list “native English,” “native command of English,” “native-like fluency,” “standard accented English,” or similar, as required or desirable qualities.

The statement is available on TESOL Spain website here.

6 thoughts on “TESOL Spain position statement against discrimination”

  1. Irene Lado Monserrat

    Thanks for the info.

    If there´s anything I can do , please let me know and keep in touch.

    Best regards

    Irene Lado

  2. Spanish schools are really difficult to enter. I have a friend who has been living there since 2001 and she has been working as a PA with a high school degree. Her university degree was not accepted. The fact that we had all subjects and exams in English, (70% for a ‘pass’, 3 category mistakes and you fail) that we had psychology, methodology of foreign language teaching, philosophy, English Lit 1 and 2, American Lit, Australian and Canadian and other pertaining studies and histories and linguistics and morphology/phonology with phonetics/syntax/semantics – nothing mattered despite her English being great. As a single mother she found it hard to finance a CELTA course though I am still not convinced it would have helped even if she had done it. Such a shame.

    1. Yes, you’re right. Still lots to be done in Spain. But I think this statement from TESOL Spain might help change the situation quicker. Also, take a look at some of the schools in the Hall of Fame here: https://teflequityadvocates.com/the-hall-of-fame/
      The bias towards CELTA you describe is very common too. You might find this post by Hugh Dellar interesting: http://www.lexicallab.com/2016/04/celta-the-native-speaker-bias-and-possible-paths-forward/

  3. A position statement against the requirement of having “native-like fluency”. So an English teacher at university level would only be required to master English at, say, A1 level?

    1. I think the problem is ‘native’ in the expression. Imagine a job ad for a firefighter which said ‘candidates need to have man-like bravery and man-like strength’. It’s the same in this case – inappropriate. Of course, an English teacher needs to be sufficiently proficient in the language. But we can put it in much more neutral terms, e.g. fully proficient in all four skills, or C2 level

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