Get Involved by James Taylor

We can all do something to help the campaign for equity in the TEFL industry between native and non-native teachers. Read on to find out what you can do…

If You’re A NNEST

If you’ve been turned down for jobs because of your nationality, don’t give up. Make sure potential employers know the qualities you have, and if they still don’t want to employ you, then you probably don’t want to work for them anyway.

Get organised. Form a group with other local teachers and put pressure on employers. Speak to your local association (see below) and ask for their support.

If you’re in the EU, remind the employer that advertising that includes native only restrictions is illegal (more information here).

If you’re a success story, share your story. Tell everyone about how you managed to do the thing you love and contact Marek so he can put it on the blog.

If You’re A NEST

Speak to your management if you know they have a NEST only policy and try to make them rethink it. If you’ve profited from a policy based on a prejudice, then you have a responsibility to try and stop it.

If You’re A Student

Trust the people who organise the lessons and teach them – don’t ask for a native English teacher. And if they only employ natives, you could tell them that English is an international language and you would like to hear a variety of accents, as well as have a great role model. If you do this, you may well help some wonderful local teachers in the process.

If You’re An Association Member or Organiser

Take a stand, just as TESOL France has. Earlier this year, they refused to accept any more job adverts that insisted on NEST’s only. Why can’t your association do something similar?

Speak to your members, and ask them for their feedback. Find out how widespread the problem is in your country, and if it’s an issue, discuss with them what can be done about it.

If You’re An Employer

You are the person that we’re trying to persuade. Decide what kind of school you want to run, one that wishes to offer the best quality lessons for its students and to play a positive role in the local community, or a short-term profit machine. Employ the best people based on the qualifications and experience, regardless of their birthplace, whether that’s thousands of kilometres away or around the corner.

Speak to your students. You might claim that they only want NESTs, but what is this based on? What I’ve found is that they aren’t really that fussed and that they know the truth, which is that the only thing they need is a great teacher. If you believe it too, everyone will be better off.

And everyone can contribute by…

…challenging this prejudice head on. If you see anyone advertising a native only position, or perpetuating some of these myths, send them to the TEFL Equity Advocates blog so they can see examples of how their thinking is becoming outdated.

…joining one of the FB support groups to keep up to date.

…share this blog and its articles with your colleagues, whether via email or social media.

…give a presentation at your local conference on why non-native teachers shouldn’t be discriminated against.

…write a statement of support and send it to the blog, where you’ll be added to the roll call of supporters including Jeremy Harmer, Luke Meddings and Peter Medgyes (see Support us section here).

This situation won’t change overnight, but every small push by every one of us will eventually make a huge difference.


James Taylor: Originally from Brighton, UK, I have taught English as a foreign language to adults in Brazil, South Korea and Belgium. Currently based in San Jose, Costa Rica, I teach adults at Centro Cultural Britanico. I am the current President and a co-founder of BELTA, the Belgian English Language Teachers Association. You can also find me moderating #ELTchat, a weekly discussion on Twitter with teachers from around the world, presenting the #ELTchat podcast, mentoring teachers for iTDi, blogging and taking photographs. You can read my blog here.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Join TEFL Equity Academy

Promote equality. Tackle native speakerism. teach English for global communication.

Show this post some love. Share it with colleagues.

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Torn Halves
7 years ago

James, you write a very positive post with some very practical suggestions that we would endorse, and yet, for some odd reason, reading your post brings to mind a very nice essay by Oscar Wilde about the folly of altruism (read as sympathy and charity) as a response to the problem of poverty. The crux of that argument is this: “Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so the people who… Read more »


[…] one of us will eventually make a huge difference. If you want to find out what you can do next, head over to the TEFL Advocates blog for a list of possible next actions that I’ve written. I hope it will encourage you to do what you can to […]


[…] more about what you can do to support the campaign in James Taylor’s fantastic post here and on our page Get […]


[…] Since Mike Griffin’s post, Nick Michelioudakis has written on this website about the halo currently seen around the native speaker teacher – that warm glow of authenticity enjoyed by NESTs who are perceived to be the “real thing”. James Taylor has also published a post listing practical steps to end discrimination in the English teaching profession. […]


[…] than teaching skills. Let’s stop being so permissive! Let’s act! Read James Taylor’s post here to find out how you can get […]


[…] more (thank you all!) have all expressed their support for this campaign, while James Taylor wrote a brilliant post encouraging and suggesting how the teaching community could get involved in advocating equal […]


[…] NESTs, recruiters and teaching associations (read more about how you can get involved here and in this article by James […]


[…] that each and every one of us can be an agent of this change (see James Taylor’s post for more concrete ideas how to get […]


[…] Taylor wrote a very motivating article where he argued that we all have a responsibility to tackle NS favouritism and outlined in detail […]


[…] more ideas how to get involved click here. You might also find this post written by james Taylor useful, as well as the discussion in this article […]

3 years ago

I think that no matter what the reasons beyond NEST-nNEST argumentation, it should always go back to what is quality education really means. It mean having qualified teachers over nationality or passports. It’s common sense, that if you have trained, experienced and qualified teachers, you will produce quality students. As a result, you will have better education system.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Join our Community

Support Equality. Tackle Native Speakerism. Learn to teach English as a Lingua Franca

Tackle native speakerism

Get Your FREE Checklist

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on vk