It is no secret that English has become the global lingua franca.
Research shows that ‘non-native speaker’ users of the language outnumber the ‘native’ ones by at least 4:1. And this number is only going to grow in the coming years.
So how can we best help students become successful users of English in this vastly multilingual, lingua franca context?
Traditionally, all foreign languages have been taught with the ‘native speaker’ in mind. In other words:
- students were assumed to be learning the language to communicate with ‘native speakers’
- as a result, they should learn ‘native speaker’ language, but also the culture that comes with it
- in order to do that, students would listen to recordings of standard ‘native speaker’ speech
- and be encouraged to imitate ‘native speaker’ pronunciation
- as well as vocabulary, idioms and communication patterns.
This has led to a situation where the ‘native speaker’ was deemed the only appropriate language model and the ultimate goal of learning and teaching. It is not surprising then that the ‘native speaker’ has been, and is also still, seen as the ideal teacher.
It is also not surprising that so many students express a preference for ‘native speaker’ teachers and ‘native speaker’ language.
This state of affairs has often been referred to as native speakerism.
So we’re in a situation where we know English is primarily used as a global means of communication.
BUT, at the same time we…
…tend to focus on conformity with standard ‘native speaker’ language norms, rather than communicative strategies
…are likely to emphasise standard ‘native speaker’ pronunciation, rather than intelligibility in international communication
…frequently teach about ‘native speaker’ culture, rather than about intercultural communicative skills
…might view having a foreign accent as bad, rather than simply as a sign of sociolinguistic diversity
…seem to use recordings of ‘native speakers’ much more frequently, rather than authentic recordings of a variety of English users
And, of course, to top it all off, numerous schools still hire ‘native speakers’ only, claiming that they are the best models of the language and the best teachers.
So how do we tackle this situation?
What can we as teachers, materials writers and trainers do to overcome native speakerism, promote equality and help students succeed at using English for global communication?
For the last several years I have used this blog to raise awareness of native speakerism. However, increased awareness is not enough.
To tackle native speakerism and promote equality, what is also needed is a profound change in how we teach English. A move from teaching English as a foreign language to teaching English as a lingua franca. A language for global communication.
And in order to help you do this, I am launching TEFL Equity Academy membership area.
With 10+ courses and new content added every month you will learn:
- how to tackle native speakerism. You will understand what the ideology of native speakerism is, how it is spread in ELT and what can you do to address it, whether you’re a teacher, trainer or materials writer.
- how to teach pronunciation for English as a Lingua Franca use. You will find out how to save time by focusing on the pronunciation features that have the highest impact on intelligibility. You will walk away with a framework that you can easily implement to teach engaging and effective pronunciation lessons.
- how to gain confidence and increase your employability as a non-native speaker teacher. You will understand why recruiters prefer ‘native speaker’ teachers and how to debunk these arguments. You will also learn what your unique strengths are as a ‘non-native speaker’, so that you can utilise these to increase your chances of getting hired.
- how to motivate your students using recordings of non-native speakers. You will find out why using a wide variety of authentic accents in your listening classes can help motivate students. You will walk away with practical activities, useful websites and classroom suggestions so that you’re completely ready for your next listening class.
- how to easily create lesson plans and adapt your course book to teach English for global communication. You will learn how to prepare engaging and motivating lesson plans that promote equality, help tackle native speakerism and teach English for global communication. You will also understand how to quickly and easily adapt your existing course books, so you can save tons of planning time.
- how to raise students’ awareness and promote equality. You will know why it is vital to first discuss both native speakerism and English as a Lingua Franca with your learners. You will walk away with an array of practical activities and lesson plan ideas, so you can save time when planning your next class.
And with new content added every month, this is just the tip of the iceberg…
And to celebrate the launch, I’m offering a limited FREE 30-day trial of the academy. Click here to get started right now.
But if you’re still not convinced, then watch this video to take a look inside the academy and see how it can benefit you.