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 […]

How to tackle native speakerism by writing materials that promote English as a Lingua Franca

We all know that there’s a huge problem in ELT. Around three quarters of all jobs are for ‘native speakers’ only. There is still also quite a widespread belief in our profession that ‘native speakers’ make better teachers. That they’re more proficient. Have wider vocabulary. Intuitive feeling for collocations. Intimate knowledge of the culture. The […]

Of native speakers and other fantastic beasts

“When we say you’ll have to ask a native speaker, or don’t ask me, I’m not a native speaker; what is it we are appealing to? What is it that human native speakers know? What sort of knowledge does the native speaker have?” (Davies, 2012, p.1).

Culture, native speakers and teaching English

‘Native speakers’ know the culture. They can provide students with cultural insights about the English language. And this is what students want and need to master the language. This is an argument that comes up time and time again to justify why ‘native speakers’ are better teachers, why they are preferred by students, and why so many recruiters […]

Why do we need to talk about ELF and native speakerism on CELTA and TrinityCert courses?

[Note from the authors: This post originally used information stating that there are no initial teaching training courses discussing English as a Lingua Franca or nativespeakerism. However, the Trinity Cert syllabus includes explicited references to ELF as of 2016. The post has been updated to reflect this. Thanks to the attentive readers for pointing this […]

IATEFL 2017 and the native speaker debate

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’. […]

Native-speakerism and the complexity of personal experience: A duoethnographic study

‘Native speakers’ are better at teaching speaking and should be given conversational and high level classes, right? They can’t tell a verb from a noun, though, so don’t ask them to teach any grammar. ‘Non-native speakers’ know the grammar better and since they know the students’ L1, they should teach lower levels, right? They’re never […]