Yes, it’s this time of year – IATEFL 2017 is almost here. Last year we had a phenomenal plenary from Silvana Richardson about the prejudice many ‘non-native speaker’ teachers suffer from in ELT, which I wrote about here. There were also several really interesting workshops and talks on the topic of ‘native’ and ‘non-native speakers’. So I was really looking forward to seeing what there is in store for those of us interested in equal professional opportunities for ‘non-native speakers’.
It turns out there isn’t much.
Apart from the talk I’m co-presenting with Dan Baines and Karin Krummenacher, which I’ll talk a bit more about in a moment, there is only one other talk that mentions the acronym NNEST (Non-Native Speaker Teacher) in the abstract:
Title: Sink or swim? Preparing trainees for the EFL jobs market.
Time and date: 4th April 2.35pm – 3.05pm
Speaker: Dita Phillips (British Study Centres Oxford-Teacher Training)
Abstract: The murky (sometimes shark-infested) waters of the EFL/ESOL jobs market can be a daunting prospect for newly-qualified teachers, especially non-native speakers (NNESTs). What more can trainers on pre-service courses do to help? I will discuss my survey of CELTA graduates and give practical ideas for helping trainees as they prepare to take the plunge and look for work.
There is also a talk which forms a part of a forum on teacher identity:
Title: ‘I’m not really an expert’: NEST schemes and teacher identity
Time and Date: 06th April 2-3pm
Speakers: Sue Garton (Aston University) & Fiona Copland (University of Stirling)
Abstract: In this presentation, we will examine the identities that native English-speaker teachers (NESTs) and local English teachers (LETs) construct when working together on NEST schemes. Through an analysis of interview and observational data, we will show that these identity constructions can affect team-teaching relationships in both positive and negative ways.
One more talk relevant to the ‘native speaker’ debate, which I had originally missed, is this one:
Title: We are. We can. We teach.
Time and date: Thursday 6 April 1645-1715
Abstract: What makes someone a good or successful teacher? Is it simply a question of whether a teacher is a native-speaker or not? Traditionally, that has been the case but recent debate suggests this way of thinking is flawed. How, then, should we define success instead? This talk aims to offer a solution: using teaching competences.
In a way perhaps, the whole debate about ‘native’ and ‘non-native speaker’ teachers might be taking us away from what is really important, that is the ability to teach, regardless of your first language or nationality. So I’m really looking forward to the talk. Hopefully, it will provide a fresh perspective on the debate.
Finally, as Laura Patsko and Katy Simpson pointed out in this blog post, there’s also only one presentation focused on English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). This is a shame as I really hoped that after last year’s plenary, there would be a much wider choice of talks on native speakerism and ELF.
Did you know that 50% of trainees on certificate level TEFL courses Dan Baines surveyed find job ads for ‘native speakers’ only acceptable? In other words, 50% of people taking Trinity Cert or CELTA see nothing wrong with advertising for ‘native speakers’ only.
This was what prompted us to start our research project – we wanted to raise trainees’ awareness of native speakerism and English as a Lingua Franca. To start a discussion about these issues. To get them thinking about these things.
And ultimately, to see if we could change their beliefs about ‘native’ and ‘non-native speaker’ teachers and the English language.
To this end, we developed a series of awareness-raising tasks on Moodle which the trainees did during their 4-week TrinityCert course. We conducted a survey at the beginning of the course, and once they’ve completed the tasks, and we also interviewed them to get a more in-depth perspective on their beliefs.
What were the results?
Come to our talk to find out 🙂
Title: NESTs and NNESTs: awareness-raising and promoting equality through
Speakers: Karin Krummenacher, Daniel Baines (Oxford TEFL Prague) & Marek
Kiczkowiak (University of Leuven)
Time and Date: 06th April 2-2.30pm
Abstract: This talk explores how trainers can raise trainees’ awareness of ELF and native speakerism on pre-service training courses through online and face-to-face
activities. It presents the effects these had on trainees’ beliefs and gives
participants an array of practical ideas and activities they can incorporate into
their own training routine. It concludes with implications for teacher training
courses in general.
You might also be interested in reading the article Karin, Dan and I published in ELTed Journal, where we outline why and how trainers should raise awareness of native speakerism. You can access the pdf here.
Dan and Karin also wrote blog posts for TEFL Equity Advocates:
- I am Hank, or being a NNEST in Prague – Karin Krummenacher
- The attitudes to discrimination in ELT job ads – the importance of teaching experience – Dan Baines
- Sexism, ageism, racism and native speakerism – job ads in ELT – Dan Baines
- Cheeky postcards: lessons learned from being a trainer on TEFL courses – Dan Baines
Hope to see you there!
PS In case you can’t make it, we’ll record the talk and put it up on TEFL Equity Advocates YouTube channel, so watch this space! Follow the channel and the blog so you don’t miss it.