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Guest Posts

Resilience is the key: my journey as a non-native speaker teacher by Eleni Symeonidou

I am going to share my journey and lessons learnt as a non-native in the ELT industry in the hope that others will feel that they are not alone if they have had unpleasant experiences, and empowered about their teaching identity. I come from Greece where I did my BA in English Language and Literature …

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[LAUNCHING TODAY] How to Teach With TED Talks: A Practical Course for English Teachers

My love of using authentic video in the classroom started thirty years ago, when I was doing my MA. And the past five years have been all about TED Talks – developing materials, writing course books and giving presentations to help English teachers like you use TED talks in class. This has given me the …

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I’m no native (English speaker) by Luna Checchini

I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t fascinated by languages. My favorite doll scared the hell out of me when I first met her because she spoke, but she eventually became my favorite doll nonetheless. She. Not it. I’m Italian, I treat objects as people, get used to that. I spoke …

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What do students think and feel about Native Speaker English? by Steve McVeagh

Why is this important?  Six years ago, during postgraduate study, I first considered the idea that Native Speaker English (NSE) might not be the one English model to rule them all. I read Bhatt and Pennycook  on Singaporean and Indian English, and others, and Modiano and Jenkins  on universal concepts like EIL. There was support …

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My ELT Voyage as a Non-White Native Speaker by Sulaiman Jenkins

“Finally, it needs to be stressed that if ELT wants to develop into a profession rather than remaining a largely unlegislated industry, then it should aim to eradicate all forms of discrimination. To evolve into a profession, the ELT community needs to challenge and remove from its belief system the notion that ‘some speakers are …

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Why is the term ‘non-native speaker’ so problematic? by Sulaiman Jenkins

I’ve had a lot of fruitful discussions with Marek Kiczkowiak and Andy Hockley as of late, and it was from our dialogue that I was encouraged to inject another perspective into this international conversation on native speakerism. As a Black American, a ‘native speaker’ of the language, and a graduate of some of the US’s …

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How to implement a successful equal opportunities policy by Matt Schaefer

I have, since 2013, worked as a program manager of Rikkyo University’s Center for English Discussion Class, a large-scale, unified-curriculum course that caters to roughly 4,700 students per year at a university in Tokyo, Japan. I am jointly responsible for curriculum design and evaluation and for hiring, training, and overseeing the professional development of 42 …

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A Non-Speaking Native Teacher

I recently learned of a website with some questionable messaging about accent and native speaker models of pronunciation. The site presented itself as something of an advocacy group fighting accent discrimination, but their messaging actually reinforced some of the selfsame problems they claimed to combat, concluding that the solution to accent discrimination was accent reduction. …

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A closed-minded school in an open-minded country by Laura Brass

Friday, August 25, 2017: A bad interview and a bad haircut. In that order and equally frustrating. While I can get over the latter, telling myself that hair grows back, I cannot come to terms with the former. I keep thinking that closed-up people who do whatever they please in a free democratic country like …

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The importance of promoting equal opportunities by Steven Cameron

In our area of the education sector, the most common cause for concern, is an unfair policy towards non-native speakers as English language teachers. Many people in ELT would probably agree that native and non-native teachers both have advantages over the other. While native speakers are normally fantastic sources of vocabulary, non-native teachers often have …

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