There has been a growing debate that why non-native English teachers are better at effectively teaching the subject. Although, some might think that non-native teachers have no scope in the ESL industry but surprisingly, the ratio to non-native to native ELS instructors has increased to 4 to 1 during the past few years. This shows that TEFL employers are now trying to add diversity in their classrooms. Moreover, the non-native teachers also provide several added advantages which can never be achieved by hiring the natives. We're not saying that the natives are not the perfect candidates for this job but there are several areas where a Non-Native English-Speaking Teacher (NNEST) can work better. Additionally, the typical ESL setting demands such kind of diversity they have.
There is no doubt in the fact the many of the job advertisements still require that the candidate must belong to an English-speaking county. But in reality, they are foregoing many advantages that a non-native teacher would have provided if hired. For example, they bring a cultural element to their ESL classroom. Not only this but they also have to offer a lot of skills and expertise regarding the subject matter. The experienced employers are well aware of the value which an NNEST can bring to not only their classroom but to their country as a whole.
According to our experience, the debate of native vs non-native is unnecessary. From a professional point of view, the only thing necessary for teaching English as a foreign language is a TEFL certificate and that all. Because this certificate provides future teachers with all the skills and practical knowledge needed to teach English to anyone or anywhere in the world. At TEFL Madrid Academy, we also try our level best to deliver all the practical knowledge to our students so that they must excel after being employed. Our accredited program is designed to not only deliver the knowledge but also to make them a brilliant ESL teacher.
So, it is a clear misconception that non-natives are not good at teaching English as a foreign language. But if you want to develop a career in the TEFL industry or are trying to offer your expertise as an English teacher, you should consider telling your potential hiring manager the kind of added benefits that they would be having by hiring you as a non-native teacher. Based on our experience, here is a list of some of the most important advantages that you would bring to the table if hired for the teaching position.
Non-Native Teachers Are Better at Teaching Spelling and Grammar
Can you imagine teaching the grammar and sentence structure of your native language? This is where all the problem begins. You cannot teach even your native language unless you go through the process of thoroughly understanding the subject from the core. This is what most of the native speakers’ overlook during their training process. Part of it is because of the Anglo-Saxon education system used in English speaking countries. Where more focus is laid upon the content rather than spelling and grammar. We are not going into the debate that whether this kind of system is effective or not as every style has its own pros and cons. But the concern here is that the students who learn English without having a main focus on spelling and grammar sometimes fail to teach it well when it comes to their professional life.
There is no-doubt that natives have a higher confidence level and they are more confident while speaking. On the other hand, they sometimes fail to explain the why of things i.e. how the various components fit together to make sentences. The only justification they can give is that it sounds correct or things are meant to be this way. They are not wrong at this point as they grew in an environment where speaking comfortably and fluently in enough to communicate with people. But when it comes to explaining the 'why' of things to others, they sometimes fail to do the job. On the other hand, a non-native pass through the whole process of learning the spelling and grammar just like their ESL students. So, they are naturally better to deliver the complete knowledge of the language components efficiently.
NNEST Are Often Good at Understanding Accents
It’s a fact that sometimes, natives fail to completely understand the accent of people with a different mother tongue. The reason is again, their educational system where they learned the subject with people having English as their mother tongue. On the other hand, non-native speakers have gone through a great nuance while learning the subject in an ESL setting where all the students belong to different mother tongues. So, they are even better at communicating with others.
Some job advertisements require that the applicant should have a British or American accent. But if we look closely, there are, countless accents that Americans and brits like to follow, and no one can broadly generalize or classify the correct accent as American or British. Now the question arises that which accent is correct and what to follow? For us, the correct accent is one that is completely understandable by all (natives and no-natives).
So, if a NNEST can speak in a way that is clear, understandable, coherent, and makes a complete sense then we cannot consider them as lessor beings when it comes to teaching English. Surprisingly, NNESTs are good at understanding the various accent and they can also deliver their message more effectively since they already spent so much time studying and mastering such skills.
They Have Learnt the Language Themselves
Unlike the native English speakers who made a little to no effort at learning the language since it was already their mother tongue. The NNESTs go through the lengthy and tiring process of learning English the same as their students. This way, they know better the needs of their student, their driving motivations and how to keep them on track. While the natives, somehow, lack this background story that can inspire the learners to perform better.
I once had a chance to attend a language class during my student life. The teacher was a native speaker of English and was very good at whatever he was teaching. He also had a good grasp of the subject. Since he was already a native speaker, I had a thought that he can do better at it. On the other hand, non-native people could never achieve their level. But during my ESL class, I got a chance to meet many NNESTs who were equally or more effective TEFL teachers. They became my inspiration and the only thing I thought at that time was, “If they can do it, why can’t I?
The bottom line is, non-native teachers, act as better motivators for the ESL students. Because they learned the language in the exact same way their students are learning. So, naturally, they can better understand their feelings, problems and know how to keep them motivated.
They are Genuinely into This Profession
Believe it or not, the NNESTS are into this profession because their hearts are really into it. Otherwise, no one dares to struggle so hard if the reward is not their dream job. English teaching is just their biggest passion. And now, if they can claim that they have acquired all the necessary skills needed for teaching the language, it means they have worked for years with dedication to achieve this level. Their story somehow matches with their students' story which makes them the perfect candidate for an English teacher position.
Non-Native English Teachers are Bilingual
This is the kind of quality that most native speakers don’t possess but is very helpful in a TEFL classroom. Researches have shown that people who speak more than one language tend to have more efficient brains as compared to monolinguals. Additionally, they view the problems and concepts from multiple perspectives hence are good at problem-solving and getting their way out in case of any problem. This also applies to their communication skills because their open-mindedness allows them to use a new technique in the classroom if the former one isn't working.
Another great strength of non-native English teachers is that their knowledge of multiple languages makes them culturally sensitive since languages are mostly linked with cultures. So, they can easily blend in with students coming from various backgrounds. This way, the learning process becomes more effective for both parties. Additionally, students feel more comfortable with someone who has gone through the process of learning another language just like they are doing.
Are You Ready to Teach English Abroad?
Are you someone with a dream to teach English as a non-native abroad? And still confused about the possible opportunities that might be waiting for you? Then worry not, because you can achieve your dream with TEFL Madrid Academy. We assure you that as a non-native, there is plenty of value that you would bring to the table. Your skills coupled with a TEFL certificate are already enough to peruse this career path. But if you have not achieved a certificate yet, consider taking our accredited TEFL course in Madrid. We will not only provide you with the necessary knowledge but also practical training needed to excel. Additionally, getting access to major employment resources is another perk of working with us.