Native and Non-Native English Language Teachers: Student Perceptions in Vietnam and Japan
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The English language teaching industry in East and Southeast Asia subscribes to an assumption that native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) are the gold standard of spoken and written language, whereas non-native English-speaking teachers (non-NESTs) are inferior educators because they lack this innate linguistic skill. But does this premise correspond with the views of second language learners? This article reports on research carried out with university students in Vietnam and Japan exploring the advantages and disadvantages of learning English from NESTs and non-NESTs. Contrary to the above notion, our research illuminated a number of perceived advantages-and disadvantages-in both types of teachers. Students viewed NESTs as models of pronunciation and correct language use, as well as being repositories of cultural knowledge, but they also found NESTs poor at explaining grammar, and their different cultures created tension. Non-NESTs were perceived as good teachers of grammar, and had the ability to resort to the students' first language when necessary. Students found classroom interaction with non-NESTs easier because of their shared culture. Non-NESTs' pronunciation was often deemed inferior to that of NESTs, but also easier to comprehend. Some respondents advocated learning from both types of teachers, depending on learners' proficiency and the skill being taught.
© The Author(s) 2014. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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