NS and NNS identity: issues of self-confidence, language ownership and authority.

Two days after Silvana Richardson’s brilliant plenary: The Native factor (read more about it here), there was an equally fascinating Q&A session. However, since it was impossible to address all the questions posed by the audience then and there, Silvana and I decided we would continue the discussion on this blog. We gathered all the questions and divided them into four groups according to the emerging topics:

  1. NS and NNS labels: a false dichotomy? – read the questions, the comments, and join the discussion here.
  2. Proficiency: is there a minimum level for a language teacher? – read the questions, the comments (99 and still counting), and join the discussion here.
  3. NS and NNS identity: issues of self-confidence, language ownership and authority.
  4. What can we do to advance equality in ELT? How can I get involved.

This is the third post with questions on the topic of identity, issues of self-confidence, language ownership and authority. We’d like to invite you to answer the questions below in the comments section. We’ll then gather the answers and post a follow-up article also including our comments.

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  1. The NNEST voice is an incredibly powerful source of quality exposure for learners in low-resource environments. How can we encourage NNESTs to value it?
  2. How can we cope as NNESTs when stakeholders want students to learn native speaker accents?
  3. How to overcome self-esteem and self-confidence problems many NNESTs face?
  4. What about NNESTs teaching away from their home countries? Where do they fit in the NEST and NNEST debate? What is their status?

Next week we will post the remaining topic on what you can do to support equal professional and employment opportunities for NS and NNS in ELT. So if you’re interested in continuing the discussion, stay tuned. Follow the blog on Twitter, FB or via email so you don’t miss any of the discussion. You can also read the questions, comments, and get involved in the discussion on NS and NNS labels: a false dichotomy here, and on Proficiency: is there a minimum level for a language teacher? here.

And if you’re interested in reading up a bit on NS and NNS issues, native speakerism or English as a Lingua Franca, check out the Reading List section with links to academic publications that are freely available on the internet. If you prefer to watch something, check out Videos section for a selection of talks and interviews.

35 thoughts on “NS and NNS identity: issues of self-confidence, language ownership and authority.

  1. Elizabeth Bekes says:

    “The NNEST voice is an incredibly powerful source of quality exposure for learners in low-resource environments. How can we encourage NNESTs to value it?”

    “Quality exposure” only exists when there is quality input (language and methodology) coming from the teacher. However, even in low-resource environments it might be possible to access some authentic input (Englishes and Lingua Franca) through TV programmes, the Internet and expat volunteers (I’ve been using all expansively in Ecuador).

    “How can we cope as NNESTs when stakeholders want students to learn native speaker accents?”

    This might be a burning issue for highly proficient, pedagogically super-trained NNESTs when they look for employment in countries where English is the native tongue or in countries where being a NS is a requirement (stated or implied). The fact of the matter is that 85% of English teachers are NNESTs, and the majority teach monolingual L1 groups. Their proficiency, obviously, varies between A1 and C2. They should be given all the support they can get to improve their teaching methodology using English as a means to do so, and thereby improving language proficiency (implicitly or by stealth) through activities that are useful and engaging. 10% of the rest of the teachers might be NESTS, whose language proficiency may also vary but will have the advantage of having heard and used English for about 10,000 hours by the age of 5 as well as having been socialized in an English speaking environment. They often need training in language awareness (L1 and L2) and cultural sensitivity. And there might be a smallish group of about 5% of us who wish to perform and thrive in an environment where we, (NEAR-native speaker teachers of English), have to compete against highly proficient NESTs, especially those who have an impeccable teaching record and often speak the language of their monolingual students. I belong to the 5%, but I prefer to focus on the needs of the 85%. I am lucky enough that Voluntary Service Overseas has never questioned my language skills when sending me to Ethiopia to set up English Language Improvement Centres, and throughout my 17-year career at the BBC’s World Service (Hungarian Section) it only happened on one occasion that I was asked to change my name from Erzsebet to Elizabeth (for the brochure of a fee-paying International Journalism Course run by the BBC).

    • nickbilbrough says:

      Hi Elizabeth, It was me who wrote question number one in Silvana’s follow up session. I didn’t get any answers to it on the day so I’m very pleased to see it’s been included here. When I wrote this…“The NNEST voice is an incredibly powerful source of quality exposure for learners in low-resource environments. How can we encourage NNESTs to value it?” I was thinking about contexts around the world where learners don’t actually hear much if any English outside of class. There are still plenty of places where this is the case, where the teacher talking English might be the only time that learners here a more advanced speaker than themselves using the language. Teachers in places like this might not be proficient in CEFR terms but they are are often able to provide quality input, because that input is in in a variety of English that suits the learners, because they generally know the L1 of the learners, and because they are potential models for L2 ideal selves, in a way that NESTS can never be. I think that teachers telling stories, using English as much as possible for classroom management, and simply chatting with the class in English are all excellent ways of providing this input. Unfortunately though, in my experience, teachers working in these contexts often don’t value the power of their own voices, believing instead that this input has to come from native speakers. This belief is often misguided in my opinion. Who or what is driving it and how can we resolve it?

      • marekkiczkowiak says:

        You make a very important point, Nick. Many NNESTs still devalue their own expertise. Bernat (2008) called it ‘the impostor syndrome’: http://www.elted.net/uploads/7/3/1/6/7316005/v11_1bernat.pdf I think it’s difficult to give one answer to your question as to what or who is driving this. I think there are numerous different factors at play:
        1. course books focus on NES accents and largely disregard NNES voices (this is beginning to change)
        2. teacher education (in my context, in a Polish university, there was a very strong emphasis on conforming with either RP or General American in pronunciation classes; ELF or World Englishes were never mentioned)
        3. recruitment – when you’re highly qualified, experienced and proficient, but you are still rejected because of your L1, this can be incredibly demotivating
        4. team teaching: in some countries (e.g. Japan) there’s a strict division between the classes NNESTs and NESTs are given, with the latter typically being responsible for communicative skills (this clearly aggravates the stereotypes and a feeling of inadequacy to teach speaking)
        5. CELTA and DELTA – the topics we’ve been discussing here are never mentioned during these courses, and as a result most NNESTs don’t know how to fight the prejudice
        6. NNESTs themselves
        And yes, the local NNEST input can be very valuable, I think. If we accept that English is now a Lingua Franca, there’s no reason why only a NES should be the source of language input. In some contexts where English is one of the official languages (e.g. India, Singapore), and a local variety of English is developing, it could also be argued that it would be inappropriate, not to say imperialistic, to impose a foreign NES Inner Circle variety.

  2. interested in the discussion says:

    Hi, I think this is a very interesting discussion and I agree that the terminology of native and non native might not be helpful and while a change in terminology could indicate a change in approach, there are some basic issues that need addressing, I would be interested in hearing your comments.

    The discussion seems to be polarised between the skills of the different groups of teachers, are native better than non natives? for example. Or in explaining why NNESTs can supply everything required for learners. While not disputing this, I would like to ask Is there anything a native speaker can bring to the classroom a non-native can’t? Is it possible to see them as offering different skills and talents, within a range offered by schools, rather than an either/or dichotomy?

    If students (customers) request native speakers as teachers, how should we respond?

    I would be einterested in hearing your thoughts.

    Thanks

    • marekkiczkowiak says:

      Hi,
      The NS vs NNS, who’s worth more, debate was started over two decades ago by Peter Medgyes: http://teachingpronunciation.pbworks.com/f/When+the+teacher+is+a+non-native+speaker.PDF And it’s still going strong, despite the fact it’s been heavily criticised by many scholars: https://www.academia.edu/21876601/Myths_and_Misconceptions_About_Nonnative_English_Speakers_in_the_TESOL_NNEST_Movement
      My personal view is that placing NS and NNS as fundamentally different with a different set of skills, misses the point completely and leads to more stereotypes. We’re all English teachers, and what makes us good or bad teachers isn’t our L1. Another problem with Medgyes’ approach is that it’s very difficult to generalise the typical NNS or NS strengths and weaknesses. For example, he argues that NNS can better empathise with learners because they’re familiar with the students’ culture. This, however, is only true for NNS teaching in their home country, while now many don’t. Also, this can be true of many NS.
      I think we’d be better off if we stopped comparing NS and NNS. It doesn’t lead us anywhere. Instead, we should focus on more productive comparisons, such as effective and ineffective teaching strategies.

  3. Elizabeth Bekes says:

    Hi, one answer to your question “What if the customers request native speakers?” is to have a team of teachers with a mix of NSs and NNSs in it going as far as actual team-teaching in pairs. Obviously, this would imply both of them playing to their strengths without a conspicuous difference in their language / methodology / classroom management skills.

    • interested in the discussion says:

      Thanks for the comment. Yes having a team of teachers would be one solution,although it follows that logically it would require on occaison advertising or recruiting specifically native speaking teachers. How would people feel about this?

      If the student requested a native teacher are you saying we should convince them that a ‘tag team’ would be better?

      Did you say what you thought a native could add, that a non native couldn’t?

      Sorry for the questions, but when people are using the terminology of ‘discrimination’ I think we should clarify are there situtaions in which you think it would be ok to advertise for NS teacher?

      • Elizabeth Bekes says:

        You are the only one who can judge the context in which you work, but all things being equal, you would need to weigh up the full range of skills of an applicant, not just their being NSs or NNSs.

        Even when students request native speakers to teach them, they may not want to be taught by them all the time (especially in intensive courses), so there might be a chance to introduce NNESTs in the teaching process mindful of the fact that, realistically, the given student is a lot more likely to use English for communication with people who speak it as a second/foreign language.

        I don’t think there is such a thing as a “native”, but if you are thinking of a linguistically and pedagogically highly-trained, articulate native speaker, who speaks the L1 of her monolingual learners, too, then yes, probably that teacher has a lot to offer in the areas of pronunciation and fluency and will also have a “natural feel” for what sounds right and acceptable in her native tongue (and might even be able to explain why). The issue is what importance we attach to these features (beyond intelligibility) in a world where 90% of encounters between people are instances of two or more NNSs communicating with each other.

  4. interested in the discussion says:

    I agree with many of the points you make, and taking all these things into account, do you think it is acceptable to advertise for a native English teacher to add to the range of skills available in a school? Or is this discrimination?

    • Elizabeth Bekes says:

      I would welcome the native speaker teacher’s contribution not just because of what she can offer to the students, but for the opportunity of experience-sharing with my exclusively NNEST colleagues, too (my context). As an HR person, I wouldn’t shy away from taking such a decision, but in some countries it is against the law to specify such an attribute, in others institutions have voluntarily decided to become “equal opportunity employers” in this regard.

    • marekkiczkowiak says:

      I don’t think it’s acceptable, just as it isn’t acceptable to advertise for males only. Ultimately, as a recruiter, I think you want to hire the best candidate possible and screening candidates based on their L1 limits your options. If a school gives equal opportunities to both NS and NNS and focuses on teaching skills, qualifications, experience, etc. in recruitment, then you will most likely end up with a mix of both NS and NNS in your school. And if you look at research, this is exactly what the vast majority of students wants: to be taught both by NS and NNS.

  5. Cat Cloudy (@cat71cloud) says:

    I’m glad you asked question four, because this is a special status not often included in the whole NEST/NNEST discussion. It is often said that one of the advantage of NNESTs is that they know their students’ L1 and/or their culture. They’re multilingual and multicultural and can use these qualities to enhance their lessons. What about teachers whose first language is neither English nor the local language? Do they lose that advantage, resulting in an automatic sinking of their ‘good teacher’ score? I think this demonstrates the dangers of trying to measure teacher effectiveness based on the qualities one has by belonging to a certain group. How about looking at teachers as individuals, possessing qualities that have nothing to do with their linguistic background?

    • Elizabeth Bekes says:

      “What about teachers whose first language is neither English nor the local language? Do they lose that advantage, resulting in an automatic sinking of their ‘good teacher’ score?”

      I should hope not, but I can only describe my own experience. My mother tongue is Hungarian. I am now teaching English to Spanish speaking university students in Ecuador. I taught English to Greek students in Crete and Amharic speakers in Ethiopia. I gave English lessons to the indigenous Achuar in the Amazonian jungle (with Spanish being the intermediary language) and would like to teach English in Turkey to Syrian refugees and local Turkish kids next year.

      I speak Hungarian, English, Spanish, Modern Greek and Russian (Turkish is next). Most often than not, I am able to relate to my language learners’ difficulties in a way that would be impossible if I didn’t have these language skills. I am also often the representative of International English at the institutions where I work, be it a university, a jungle school or a refugee centre.

      • Cat Cloudy (@cat71cloud) says:

        Ωραία. 🙂 It’s wonderful that you get to learn the local language wherever you go. You say that it would be impossible to relate to your students difficulties without knowing their first language. Do you mean on an emotional level? I think it certainly helps, in terms of specific issues, but in general if one has ever learned a foreign language, any one, it still helps with relating.

        • Elizabeth Bekes says:

          Efharisto para poli 🙂

          Indeed, but many NESTs do just that (learn their students’ first language in monolingual contexts), so this approach is not a specificity of NNESTs, it’s more of an attitude. The fun my students are having when I mispronounce a Spanish word! Or, when I ask them: “Is ‘corazón’ (heart) feminine or masculine? Does it take ‘el’ or ‘la’?”, and a male student responds, blushing “It depends, Teacher…” 🙂

          “would be impossible” – read: hard – and I was thinking mainly of language difficulties rather than the emotional aspect

  6. interested in the discussion says:

    I agree with the idea of looking at teachers as individuals, not as representataives of a group, but it is impossible to look at a teacher’s skills and experience without looking at their linguistic background.

    My problem with the idea of equality between NESTs and NNESTs is that it is abstract and moralising. I appreciate that Elizabeth is responding to comments, but she is doing her best to avoid clear answers.

    Every teacher brings a skillset informed by their training and experience and school Managers have to assess that in relation to the current requirement of thier schools. That requirement may be a NEST,or a NNEST with the same language as learners, if it is the second is this discrimination against NESTs? or against NNESTs without the student’s L1?

    We discriminate if we use a feature of a teachers background or personality that does not affect their teaching practise to rule them out of consideration for a position, e.g. colour, race, sexuality, gender. It is not discrimination to consider someone’s linguistic experience and background with the subject they intend to teach, it is absolutely relevant to the position they are applying for. It can in some instances be a positive and in others a negative to be NEST , NNEST or NNEST with L1 or a NEST with L1, for all the reasons outlined earlier. I personally am always conscious that a native’s grasp of grammar is usually far less comphrehensive than a NNEST, is this alwyas true? NO, but it is also true that NEST’s fluency and vocabualary are usually far more advanced than a NNEST, is this alwyas true? NO, that is why you interview and discuss with candidates, but to pretend this does not exist is abstract moralising.

    To frame the debate about who is better, is wrong and infantile, and framing the question in terms of equality is misleading.

    • Cat Cloudy (@cat71cloud) says:

      I agree partly with what you’re saying. You say it’s not discrimination to consider someone’s linguistic background, because it’s directly relevant to their teaching. It may not be discrimination, but it seems verging on prejudice to me. Someone’s linguistic present (how proficient they are) is more important than their linguistic background, and this can be easily ascertained at the interview. Qualifications can also attest to it. Why make assumptions based on where someone was born? To be fair, to assume that a non-native’s grasp of grammar is better than a native’s is also not ideal, and not professional in my opinion. This is why we have professional qualifications, precisely to avoid this kind of guessing game. It’s fair game to ask anything you want at the interview, so that you can find out how proficient someone is language or grammar-wise. But to assume, or to advertise only for one or for the other?
      Yes, as an average NESTs have better fluency. But if you use the phrase ‘far more advanced’ you’re putting all NNESTS in the same basket. Many have a degree in English, or have lived in English-speaking countries for years. The question is, how important are these things in the classroom? Will the students need every obscure piece of slang? Or are teaching skills more important?

    • Joe says:

      It’s discriminatory to advertise for native speakers, but it’s not discriminatory to advertise for (for example) a 9.0 on the IELTS score. The law perfectly allows for employers to choose candidates based on linguistic proficiency, it just doesn’t allow them to disqualify candidates based on nothing but their country of origin. I think that’s fair enough.

      • Cat Cloudy (@cat71cloud) says:

        It would certainly be legal to advertise for 9.0 on the IELTS. Few already do, a couple of places I applied to asked me for it. The question is, do they ask it of native speakers, too? Would all native speakers get 9.0 on the IELTS? Is it perfection we’re aiming for? I don’t see any companies advertising for a 4.0 GPA, for example. Or even an A on the CELTA (although some view it as a ‘desirable’ qualification)

        • marekkiczkowiak says:

          I think advertising for a particular proficiency level would be a positive step forward from advertising for NS or NS-like proficiency. Having said that, I agree with Cat Cloudy that 9 on IELTS is too high. Most NNESTs and NESTs fresh off CELTA would be unlikely to get it (official IELTS statistics for 2013 show that the average for those whose L1 was English scored 6.5 on IELTS Academic…). I think there’s a good case for requiring both NS and NNS to prove their proficiency level. I recorded a podcast about it here if anyone is interested: https://theteflshow.com/2015/10/21/should-native-speakers-take-proficiency-tests/

  7. interested in the discussion says:

    Hi I agree with you that job allocation should be based on a discussion with the applicant. But the reality is most TEFL NEST teachers qualify with a CELta at best, or a TEFL qualification gained online in a matter of weeks, whereas all NNESTs I have ever come across have at least a degree in English and usually a degree in pedagogy so most NNESTs are are far more qualified than most NESTs, now this is obviously not in every case.

    But no one in this thread is defending the idea that advertising for a NEST is discriminating against NNESTs, on a TEFL equity advocates site, this seems strange to say the least.

    Discrimination or not?

    • Joe says:

      What exactly does a degree in English infer though? I’d suggest that it varies wildly depending on the country you study in. I’ve had students in my elementary classes who had been studying English at university, for example, and students who have graduated who I’d put at B1 level at best. And at the other end of the scale, a friend of mine who studied his English degree in Hungary had to read Ulysses. Although that was an English literature degree, so would that make him “more qualified” to teach English, given than it isn’t specifically about linguistics? And where does the typical native speaker’s 11 years of formal English study rank?

    • marekkiczkowiak says:

      Of course, advertising for NESTs is discriminatory. It’s the same as advertising for men only, white people only, etc. It is based on a false assumption that your L1 makes you a better teacher, and that by definition any NEST is better than any NNEST.

  8. interested in the discussion says:

    Hi Joe, I agree it can vary wildly.

    In your earlier comment you said it was against the law to advertise for a native speaker, so that kind of closes the discussion for me. Out of curiosity, is that across the EC or in slelected countries?

  9. nicroseper says:

    Self-confidence and self-esteem are indeed major issues to be overcome. If you’ve worked hard to do everything you needed to be regarded as equal (proficiency, qualifications, experience etc.) only to find out you’re still thought of that way, you have to have a lot of both to keep going. I have used very general terms here because many women still face this type of discrimination in a number of professions. Luckily, I don’t think ours is one of them.

    I wonder though how many NNS teachers really believe in their equality. In the research field of teacher cognition, especially related to teacher beliefs, there is a lot of evidence that we are a product of the education belief system we were raised in and will teach the same way ( extremely broad generalisations). If NNSs had teachers who apologised for not having NS accents or if NS was always held up as a model and anything short of it was regarded as below standard, then there is always going to be a nagging doubt in those NNS minds about whether they really are equal. Only they as individuals can overcome this. Unless we as individuals are certain of our own skills and rights to be given the job we think we deserve, we will never get it.

    I didn’t go to the follow up session but I’m surprised that there haven’t been more NNS teachers in this discussion, coming up with ideas and trying to build on the opportunity Silvana’s plenary gave them. Was it just conference hysteria?

    • Cat Cloudy (@cat71cloud) says:

      You are absolutely right, we are a product of our education system and/or the society we have grown up in. Even if we wholeheartedly support the NNEST movement, there still may be a question at the back of our minds: Am I good enough? I’ve heard this from colleagues, and I certainly feel this way. This is reinforced when accent issues are mentioned at interviews, or even by students. It takes a lot of inner strength to overcome it.

  10. interested in the discussion says:

    There are so many generalisations that keep being repeated and taken as fact in this discussion it is hard to get to grips with it.

    Employers do not necessarily think natives are ‘better’ or have ‘better’ accents, but employing natives is an important part of the range of experiences and skills necessary for a school.

    There is no one ‘English’ or native accent, regional accents in the UK are amazingly different and very few people speak with RP or ‘BBC English’.

    Teachers are not equal- they should be treated equally.

    No one has the ‘right’ to a teaching job, you have the right to apply, and for your application to be considered, on its merits when compared with other teachers of whatever background.

    If there issues to do with confidence or esteem among NNESTs, these are not the fault of someone who hires a native teacher.

    Native does not mean English, it can mean all those countries where English is a national language.

    The discussion is useful, if we can leave these tropes behind, if you find you are using them, it might be worth rephrasing your point.

    • nicroseper says:

      The things you are calling generalisations are perhaps a part of the discussion that has gone on before you joined it, or in response to some of the points made in Silvana’s plenary and especially to a body of academic research that underlies and supports much of what is being discussed here. Not tropes but previously established points of reference.

    • marekkiczkowiak says:

      I’m not sure if they’re generalisations. I agree with Nic below that there are part of the discussion. It would be great if we could stop making generalisations, but I don’t think that’s possible. And we need to talk about the stereotypes and biases that these generalisations reflect. Otherwise, they’ll never go away. Here are some of my thoughts:

      1. “Employers do not necessarily think natives are ‘better’ or have ‘better’ accents, but employing natives is an important part of the range of experiences and skills necessary for a school” – of course it is. As is having NNESTs. It doesn’t make recruitment based on L1 or country of origin any less discriminatory, though. I think the point is that if a school gave both NS and NNS equal opportunities, you would end up with a mix of both groups teaching for you. Nobody is saying stop employing NESTs

      2. There is no one ‘English’ or native accent, regional accents in the UK are amazingly different and very few people speak with RP or ‘BBC English’. – yep, totally true, but you’ll find that recruiters, students and NNESTs often imagine there is one correct English. Also a lot of academics keep on talking about Standard English as if this was something that really existed.

      3. Teachers are not equal- they should be treated equally. – They’re not equal in the sense that they all have different skills, qualifications, experience, etc. However, they should be treated equally, that is fairly.

      4. No one has the ‘right’ to a teaching job, you have the right to apply, and for your application to be considered, on its merits when compared with other teachers of whatever background. – absolutely. Let’s hope that more ELT recruiters follow this advice. A lot still think that NES have the right to teaching jobs.

      5. If there issues to do with confidence or esteem among NNESTs, these are not the fault of someone who hires a native teacher. – partially they are. They contribute to the feeling of inferiority that many NNESTs already have. Imagine you’re a completely proficient NNS (CPE with grade A), fully qualified (BA in English Philology, CELTA, DELTA, PhD on its way) and experienced (all levels, EAP, Business, Exam Prep, you name it). When you apply for a job (CELTA plus 2 years of experience needed), though, you’re still turned down because of your L1. You’d have to be pretty determined and stubborn to continue hoping that ELT is the right profession for you.

      6. Native does not mean English, it can mean all those countries where English is a national language. – this still discriminates a lot of people whose L1 is English. Let’s not forget that there are many NES in the Outer Circle too (e.g. India, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Singapore). The more you look at what makes a NES, the more you start realising that in ELT, it’s more to do with power, politics and privilege, than with speaking English as your L1. There’s a lot of racism in ELT and being a NES is often linked with being white: https://youtu.be/cJQ4TSPMZAM

      The discussion is useful, if we can leave these tropes behind, if you find you are using them, it might be worth rephrasing your point.

    • peter says:

      Thanks, finally a sane voice in this debate. Personally, what I find especially annoying in all this is the rhetoric of victimhood coupled with pop psychology (“self-image”, “self-confidence”, etc.).

  11. interested in the discussion says:

    Hi Marek,
    Thanks for your post , I agree with a lot of what you said. Generalisations may not be the right word, maybe ‘assertions’ fits better, it may be true that there is research showing that the opinions of recruiters are as claimed, i don’t know, I haven’t seen it. But if it does, then we can say most, e.g. most recruiters view NESTs as preferable.

    But it is important that it is not all.

    . “Employers do not necessarily think natives are ‘better’ or have ‘better’ accents, but employing natives is an important part of the range of experiences and skills necessary for a school” – of course it is. As is having NNESTs. It doesn’t make recruitment based on L1 or country of origin any less discriminatory, though. I think the point is that if a school gave both NS and NNS equal opportunities, you would end up with a mix of both groups teaching for you. Nobody is saying stop employing NESTs

    If as part of a team of NESTS and NNESTS a school lost a NEST and wanted to recruit one, or lost a NNEST and needed to replace one, you are saying it is discriminatory to advertise for one, but if no mentioned is made of NEST or NNEST then it is ok to replace the team member you need e basis of being a NEST or non Non NEST.

    Is it discriminatory to advertise or specifically recruit a non NEST?

    Imagine you’re a completely proficient NNS (CPE with grade A), fully qualified (BA in English Philology, CELTA, DELTA, PhD on its way) and experienced (all levels, EAP, Business, Exam Prep, you name it). When you apply for a job (CELTA plus 2 years of experience needed), though, you’re still turned down because of your L1.- what if the school is achieving the full range of its staff by recruiting a native as part of a team that includes non natives?

    • Joe says:

      The same question would apply to someone advertising for NEST only. Why exactly do you need a NNEST? I can only think of reasons that would be based on assumptions (i.e. they understand the students’ culture better, they’re better at grammar, native teachers don’t speak the local language). It’s perfectly acceptable to advertise for a bilingual teacher, but advertising specifically for a non-native teacher is just as discriminatory as advertising specifically for a native teacher.

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