I can’t quite believe it yet, but 2017 is almost over…
There have been some fascinating posts on the blog from teachers, trainers and recruiters scattered across all four corners of the world. And these amazing authors have attracted almost 70 000 visits with over 50 000 unique visitors from practically every country on the planet!!
So I wanted to thank all of you who have contributed to the site, visited it, shared and commented posts. You’re amazing!
And to round off a great year, I’ve put together a list of the 5 most popular posts from this blog from 2017 (according to my WordPress stats).
Are you ready?
Here we go 🙂
- Why I wish I was a non-native speaker by James Taylor (2 580 hits)
Firstly, let me say that the title of this post is a lie. I don’t wish I was a non-native English speaker teacher (NNEST). As someone from the UK who teaches English as a foreign language, the country of my birth is a huge advantage to me. As has been well documented on this blog, I am much more likely to get a job than someone from Japan, Algeria or Brazil, no matter how qualified or experienced they are. For some students, having a native speaker teacher has a certain cachet, as in most countries it is unusual and many of them think that it means they have a better teacher as a result. So both employers and students seem to think that because I’m English, I must be a better teacher, which has got to be good for me…
2. ‘Native speakers’ only ads and EU law by Marek Kiczkowiak(2 576 hits)
Over 70% of the posts advertised on the biggest search engine for TEFL job seekers, tefl.com, are exclusively for NESTs (Native Speaker English Teacher). If you’re not one, don’t bother applying. You might have a PhD and 100 years of teaching experience, but no one will even bother looking at your CV.
Common sense and gut feeling tell most of us that what we have here is a clear case of discrimination. Same as any other type of discrimination, such as based on gender, race or ethnicity. But gut feeling is only just that, and can only get you so far. Have you ever wondered, though, whether such ads were legal?
3. Non-Native speakers encouraged to apply by Rob Sheppard (2 504 hits)
Without discrimination against ‘NNESTs’, I would never be an English teacher. I’d wager I’m not the only one.
In late August of 2006, somewhere in the crowded streets of Kangbuk District in Seoul, a woman with a master’s degree in English and tired eyes walked to the post office with a padded yellow mailer under her arm. The next stop after the post office was the bank. She probably walked with some hurried annoyance at being asked to perform this task, thinking of all the other things she had to do. Inside the mailer was my passport, and at the bank she’d wire me around $600, a full reimbursement of the cost of my flight to Korea…
4. Peter Medgyes’ The Non-Native Speaker Teacher: Why publish a New Edition? by Susan Holden (1 979 hits)
More than 20 years ago, in the early 1990s, there was a lot of discussion about the position of teachers of English who were either native or non-native speakers of the language. In The Non-native Teacher Péter Medgyes, a Hungarian, wrote about the relative advantages and disadvantages, problems and insights, of both groups. This became a successful book, used widely on teacher training courses in many countries.
5. Of ‘native speakers’ and other fantastic beasts by Marek Kiczkowiak (1 903 hits)
We all refer to ‘native’ and ‘non-native speakers’ not just in English Language Teaching (ELT), Second Language Acquisition (SLA) or linguistics, but also in daily life. Consider the following sentences:
- She’s a ‘native speaker’ of Spanish.
- I don’t know how to say this, to be honest. Let’s ask a ‘native speaker’.
- We can’t hire you because you’re a ‘non-native speaker’.
- The aim of this research is to study the differences between Chinese bilingual English learners and native monolingual English speakers in expressing motion.
So the term’ native speaker’ seems very familiar to us. After all, we could argue that everyone is a ‘native speaker’ of the language they learned first. And we all have probably seen, met and had a beer with a ‘native speaker’, right?