fbpx
84bd92b55a4e7dee19c3bf365271bd37

How to maintain a thriving language school through an equal opportunities policy and an ethical code by Julie Wallis

We are a small, yet highly accredited learning organisation and we employ professional qualified academic staff. The London School is regularly inspected by AISLi, Eaquals and The Veneto Region and our teachers meet the high standards set by these organisations.

Over the past year we have been working on a research project.

We invited learners from a B1 level upwards to design an observation template based on what they considered to be language teaching and learning excellence in the classroom. The group of seven learners met three times over seven hours and drew up an observation template. Their conversations were recorded.

And from these conversations we found that the students wanted:

  • to see teachers move around the classroom supporting learners individually
  • to see teachers helping learners to understand and correct their errors
  • to offer advice on further self-study.

They wanted many things, but not once did they mention that they wanted native speakers.

They observed teachers (not their own teacher) of different backgrounds, countries, races, religions, ages and sexual orientation. They saw teachers teaching different age groups, levels and class types. They were taught to give feedback to teachers.

The process is ongoing and is being managed by a level 7 teacher who is not a native speaker. The learners respect her for her professionalism. They are not interested in where she is from.

Learn How to Promote Equality and Tackle Native Speakerism

Download this FREE checklist to learn easy, actionable tips that you can immediately use to start promoting equal professional opportunities for both ‘native’ and ‘non-native speaker’ teachers.

Hey, I hate spam too. Your email is 100% secure with me, and you will only get quality content. Unsubscribe with one click.

In another experiment, I recorded four teachers in our school talking about their jobs. I played these four recordings to a hall full of teachers from the Italian state sector and, after each recording, asked whether they thought the teacher they had heard was a native speaker, non-native speaker or if they couldn’t tell.

Before the experiment the 120 teachers present were asked to establish what a ‘native’ speaking teacher was. The general consensus was ‘someone whose formative years were spent using English in an English speaking educational setting’.

The first of the teachers they heard had been educated in Ghana and had a British passport. Almost unanimously they agreed she was a native speaker.

The second teacher was Polish and had lived for a short period in the UK. The was a divided response; a third saying they couldn’t tell, a third saying native and a third saying non-native.

The third teacher was born to a British mother and Italian father and had been brought up with English as a first language and some of his formative education was in the UK. About 70% judged him to be non-native with the others saying they couldn’t tell. Yet, by their own definition, he would have been considered a native speaker.

The last teacher was from Cambridge. Funnily, the floor was again split into three with some teachers certain that he was American.

I rest my case. If these teachers couldn’t tell where someone was from, why should there even be a discussion about this. It is simply another form of discrimination.

These same teachers told me that their school is willing to pay €70 per hour to native speakers working on EU funded projects, but only €35 for professional, qualified teachers who work with them in their schools. It seems to me that if you don’t value qualifications and professionalism, you should not be in the kind of system that advocates these to learners.

We have in place a number of tools for the selection of qualified personnel. These include a three-tier interview process with tasks, a 25 hour induction programme and ongoing CPD, and an ethical code laid out in our staff and student handbooks. These tools have been invaluable in protecting ourselves against discrimination of any kind. In fact, our ethical code, which references the EU Charter of Fundamental Human Rights, Chapter 21, has allowed us to declare and share our values publicly. 

As a language school owner, I have to protect the business and the staff. It’s easy to think that this means giving the customers anything they want. Yet experience has taught me that this is not the case. Customers can be re-educated and, if presented with facts, will often change their viewpoint. It takes courage, but for all our sakes, I and my team will continue to push for inclusive non-discriminatory education.

Learn How to Promote Equality and Tackle Native Speakerism

Download this FREE checklist to learn easy, actionable tips that you can immediately use to start promoting equal professional opportunities for both ‘native’ and ‘non-native speaker’ teachers.

Hey, I hate spam too. Your email is 100% secure with me, and you will only get quality content. Unsubscribe with one click.

About

I am an experienced and enthusiastic training professional with more than thirty years’ experience developing and delivering dynamic, interactive learning materials for facilitators, running successful training programmes and organising training events for teachers and academic directors. I have worked as an Educational Consultant for the Italian association, AISLi, am an inspector of language schools for both AISLi and Eaquals and am an advisory member of the board for TransformELT and a committee member of AISLi.

My background lies in creating, developing, and implementing teacher training and leadership programmes to facilitate and develop people in education. Additionally, I have extensive experience in managing daily operations and staff leadership responsibilities in my own highly accredited language school, all of which positions me to excel in the role offered.

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

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

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

  Subscribe  
Notify of

Get Your

And learn how you can start promoting equality and tackling native speakerism.

how to tackle native speaakerism_checklist_cover

Join our Community

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

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