Use of native English teachers
- Dear Max:
I found your posting quite interesting. Yes, I have often heard comments
from Chinese teachers that foreigners do not know how to teach English.
They are hired by many schools just for the face value. Even some
Russians are teaching English in a private school in Shenzhen because
they look western. Parents are paying top dollars sending their kids to
this kind of school and they want western looking teachers to teach
their kids. Asian looking teachers, whether native speakers or
experienced Chinese teachers are often treated as second class teachers.
This is not healthy but it happens often.
We have a very mixed team. We have Chinese teachers from China as well
as from Hong Kong, USA. We also have a few teachers from India. One of
the most popular teacher we have is from India. We use Chinese teachers
to teach beginner students and we use native speakers to teach
elementary and above. Yes, native speakers without qualifications and
esl experiences are used as teaching assistants to act as conversation
partners for students. Once they gain enough experience, they can be
promoted to teacher positions.
As we only admit adults or youth above 16 years old, we normally do not
need to deal with some ignorant and prejudiced parents who demand for
western looking teachers with American accent or British accent.
Students are not allowed to choose their teachers in our school. They
are assigned to the class according to their level.
Personally, I believe native speakers are indispensable for language
study. To be fluent and proficient, one needs to learn many things from
native speakers, not just vocabulary and grammar. No matter how
experienced they are, non native language teachers can not provide all
the language elements the students need. A good native English teacher
is one who can teach different level students, even the very beginner
Just some random thoughts to share,
Ping in Zhuhai
Gateway Language Village-平和国际语言村
You do not need to go abroad to study English
P.O.Box 935, Ningxi, Zhuhai, 519001, PR of China
Phone: 86-756-2291935 Fax:86-756-2294934
E-mail: pinghong@... or pinghong@...
Coming together is a beginning
Keeping together is Success
Working together is Progress
- Ping always has interesting things to say, and I have to comment.
> I found your posting quite interesting. Yes, I have often heardcomments
> from Chinese teachers that foreigners do not know how to teachEnglish.
> They are hired by many schools just for the face value. Even somebecause
> Russians are teaching English in a private school in Shenzhen
> they look western. Parents are paying top dollars sending their kidsto
> this kind of school and they want western looking teachers to teachteachers.
> their kids. Asian looking teachers, whether native speakers or
> experienced Chinese teachers are often treated as second class
> This is not healthy but it happens often.Yes, this is infuriating for Chinese and Western EFL teachers because
the native speaker capability is judged by employers as more important
than TEFL knowledge and qualifications. Chinese teachers are made to
play second fiddle to westerners who can't TEFL and western TEFL
qualified and experienced teachers are treated as substandard, just
like back packers and given jobs in the "conversation class".
> We have a very mixed team. We have Chinese teachers from China as
> as from Hong Kong, USA. We also have a few teachers from India. Oneof
> the most popular teacher we have is from India.I'm glad you have a good Indian teacher who is recognised as good.
They have a tough time in Hong Kong. Even Macau has only one
non-white, non-asian teacher that I know of, though I don't know all
> We use Chinese teachers to teach beginner students and we use nativespeakers to teach elementary and above.
I taught beginners for a number of years, multilingual classes so I
didn't speak their language. The basic things you do with beginners go
well with mime, action, TPR and I think you can get a lot of fun from
working totally in the L2, though I've nothing against using L1 to
keep the pace of the lesson going, or against a little bit of
translation between students. I think it was Rinvolucri who
once asked if any teachers who were dogmatic about L2 only in
the classroom had ever tried miming "although". Starting with L2 shows
that it's really a language, not a subject, and that you mean
business. It makes you concentrate in the same way that the silent way
forces concentration on the target language. And the enjoyment from
communicating in a new code is really motivating.
> Yes, native speakers without qualifications and esl experiences areused as teaching assistants to act as conversation
> partners for students. Once they gain enough experience, they can beI don't think that teaching is purely a practical skill, one that can
> promoted to teacher positions.
just be picked up by doing. After all, diving into the classroom and
getting on with it is not even such a good training experience as the
"two weeks watching Nellie" that factory workers used to get as
"training". There are plenty of unqualified intuitive teachers who
seem to be successful, but don't actually have the conscious knowledge
of their own language that is really necessary for the job. They
encourage communication and use their personality very successfully
but they don't always teach an English that is really used by native
> As we only admit adults or youth above 16 years old, we normally donot
> need to deal with some ignorant and prejudiced parents who demandfor
> western looking teachers with American accent or British accent.They
> Students are not allowed to choose their teachers in our school.
> are assigned to the class according to their level.Right on!! But how do you deal with the students' own prejudices? Let
them go elsewhere? Or can you really convince them that your results
show that your policy is right.
> Personally, I believe native speakers are indispensable for languagefrom
> study. To be fluent and proficient, one needs to learn many things
> native speakers, not just vocabulary and grammar. No matter howall
> experienced they are, non native language teachers can not provide
> the language elements the students need.If you are talking about cultural aspects of language, English is now
a multicultural language and this makes the native speaker less
prestigious. I can't say much about the culture of Northern Queensland
except that the guys I met in PNG from Birdsville and Cairns were
remarkably adept at falling from their bar-stools without major
injury. And my knowledge of the USA is limited as I know only a few
Americans and am thus influenced by TV, which is not good for me. Do
you know, a character in a series yesterday said "This is Washington,
we are the global village, and all of America is watching us"?
If you are talking about usage, then we're moving into Michael Lewis
territory of lexical chunks. Lewis' view of inadequate vocabulary and
collocation knowledge being responsible for many grammatical errors
makes a fair bit of sense. but if it's true then the NS teacher has a
tremendous advantage because many collocations are unfamiliar to many
NNS teachers but most occur across dialect boundaries for NS. The NNS
teacher won't be able to catch up unless they live in an NS
environment for a time or unless they are from the new generation who
are taught English, at least in part, as chunks.
- How do we define NATIVE TEACHER is better than the non native teacher?
An asian teacher who has undergone MA, PH D courses of linguistics in
the British universities would be less proficiency than the native
speakers who merely a BA holder?
I agree that the parents and even some management planners have this
sub-standard concept. Thus, can you blame Michael Jackson go for the
It is disheartening to see the world still maintain the concept of
ability by colours.
When a non-native graduated with the BA in TESL in the British
univeristy, s/he is equally well-verse with the native speakers in
the linguistic aspect, otherwise, the university should not issue
the degree, for example the Trinity College would have such
distinguished mark Associate for the non native speaker.
Sad is it?