Being a Good English Teacher Even if You’re not a Native Speaker
As a Spaniard in love with languages, I can’t start this essay without saying anything other than, "it’s not who the teacher is, but the will of teaching that they have". Through all these years of learning English, I just know for sure that a learner learns more when they live in and with the language throughout each day. They need to become hooked to it, and it does not matter if the person who transmits this feeling is a native speaker or not.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Andrea M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Nowadays we have much more information and knowledge anywhere we go. It has become easier to learn anything that we want to study. However, it is still important to find a wise mentor to help the learner keep that urge of wanting to learn. This could be any person who shows us the importance or the extremely positive side of learning.
Dividing this essay into the following two parts, the first one explaining the positive points of having a non-native speaker and the second one of having a native speaker.
Benefits of a Non-Native English Speaking Teacher
By having a non-native speaker as a teacher, it can be easily assumed that we will not learn from them as much as a native speaker could teach us. But nothing further from the truth, being objectives a non-native speaker had had to pass all the learning a second language much earlier before becoming a teacher, meaning that they know the best techniques to learn every aspect of the language, including the hardest things to learn such as colloquial phrases, the most common mistakes and how to correct them, and finally, they can share their experiences as a learner to give the students the best tips that helped them to learn as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Besides, it could give some confidence to the students if the teacher speaks their same language. The teacher could approach students on a beginner level because those students are not able yet to express themselves as they would like. Because of this idea, many times the students will not want to participate or ask questions during class if it is not in their native language. This type of situation can build up the students’ knowledge step by step letting them speak in their language so they can fluently express their thoughts until they do not need it anymore after the beginner level.
On the other hand, we can imagine that the non-native speaker will have a different accent in their native language as well as not being able to answer every question or to explain vocabulary. However, it is clear that if that student eventually became a teacher, it is because they enjoyed their journey and process of learning the language and want to share their knowledge as best as they can, so they will better instruct their future students to make their learning as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Advantages of Native Speakers
Talking now about having a native speaker teacher we can value that he or she will most likely speak correctly all the time, answer our vocabulary questions without any doubt, and giving us a closer image of their English culture with a more natural speech and a huge amount of native expressions during his or her explanations.
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Is it fair enough?
In conclusion, giving the last realistic point to this essay, it is highly common to find job offers exclusively for native speakers, even though we could have the same certificates and teaching experience. Why? Will I teach language better just because I was raised to speak it? My simple example is this: I can drive a car, but I am not able to explain properly how it works or how to drive it. Languages are similar if any person in the world gets a C certificate of any second language that means that this person can speak fluently that language without any trouble. But what about if that person takes a teaching course in that language? Does it not mean that she or he will be able to teach it properly even not being a native speaker?
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My point of view is as follows, it is even harder for non-native speakers to learn that level of a language, and we have to understand that they reach it because they were highly consistent, enthusiastic, and hardworking people with a huge love for what they have learned and therefore for what they teach. Every English speaker has a different accent and that does not mean that they are better or worse speakers. Let's give a chance to the effort doing the job and not looking just at how the person’s accent is, looks like, or where they are from.
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