Students And Supervisory Team Perceptions Of Nest English Language Essay

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Some people argue that it is better to hire native speakers of the English language to teach it as a foreign or second language; whereas, others strongly believe that native speakers have their own deficiencies and non- native speakers will do the job better. This research deeply investigates the debatable issue identifying the reasons behind each point of view. When choosing a native speaker of English or non-native one, we arrive at two contradictory positions that tackle this issue from two different perspectives.

First, the writer will deal with the advantages and disadvantages of the native speaker teacher, and then he will go on to consider the same aspects of the non-native speaker teacher.

Native speaking teachers are by definition competent and knowledgeable in their language use. They are also naturally capable of communicating effectively with the language. Hence, a native English speaking teacher is a good model for students to help to acquire the language. On the other hand, he is not necessarily a good teacher as the roles of the teacher go beyond simple competence in the language. A teacher has a variety of other responsibilities towards his students. For example, a successful teacher needs to understand, amongst other things, the cultural background of his students, their interests, needs, learning styles and individual differences. He should also have the capacity to motivate them and engage them to participate effectively in the classroom and outside the classroom. The native speaking teacher might well be at a disadvantage here,as he may not be able to handle the affective needs of his students because he lacks the knowledge of his students` cultural and social backgrounds.

In fact the literature emphasizes this advantage mentioned above; the fact that native speakers have a knowledge base and competency in the language that is hard to beat.

For example, Millrood (1999) stated that a native teacher is better than an equally qualified non-native one, simply because he/she has the language knowledge advantage. In addition, there are other advantages about having a native teacher that cannot be denied, such as the input that the person provides, in terms of pronunciation and language use. In the vital area of pronunciation native teachers have an edge over the non native teachers (Millrood, 1999).In addition, Omord (2008) emphasized the role of the native speaking teacher in the primary school because this is very important for children to master correct pronunciation and complex grammatical constructions.

These advantages are also found in the communicative area. English native speakers have more advantages regarding the communicative skills; they are more competent, able to communicate within different social settings and to produce fluent and spontaneous discourse of the language. The writer thinks it all depends on our overall objectives of teaching the language. If we intend to enable our students to master the language fluently, it is better to hire native speakers to teach them as they are more capable of communicating the language more effectively and efficiently. Native speakers have the merit of completely internalized structures and syntax, as well as slang, buzzwords and so on (Medgyes, 1992).

When it comes to speaking in particular, it goes without saying that native speakers are better models and resource for students to learn from. Any native English speaker can naturally highlight problems with grammar and pronunciation. One advantage a native speaker can have is the intuitive knowledge of the language and the almost instinctive recognition of errors, having such a wide exposure to not only the grammar, but also idiomatic and fixed phrasal expressions (Nowak, 2003).

In addition, some native speaker's lack of knowledge of the student's mother tongue forces students to communicate with the second language while talking with the native teacher; this increases the students' use of the second language and enables students to maximize their exposure to the second language. In contrast, however, the use of students` mother tongue can be of value in favor of non-native speaker teachers not only for the effective explanation of abstract notions but also for classroom management (Medgyes, 1992).

Another advantage for the native speaker is that almost 'automatically' native teachers have a natural capability of teaching cultural issues related to English cultures like habits, heritage, customs and traditions more than non-native teachers, due to their abilities to appreciate and conceptualize the figurative meaning and its symbolism. What qualities does a native speaker have? He or she has a good knowledge of the language, the roots, history and be aware of the current cultural context in their own country. Some of these teachers are from places which can be used to illustrate their lectures with information about where they lived. This is very important because a language is a living thing; it concerns the people that use it, where they live and what they do (Millrood, 1999).

One important writer on the superiority the native speaker can have is Solovova (2006) - he indicated that many successful teachers of English are native English speakers. He summarizes the reasons for their success as follows; a native English speaker himself is foreign, new and different and thus interesting in every way to the student. Then, s/he is the best model set for the students to learn the language s/he speaks and the culture s/he comes from. Next, s/he gives the students a natural language environment as well as a chance to talk with a native speaker, which gives them a feeling of achievement. In addition, a native speaking teacher can talk about his/her country, his/her life and everything that is new and interesting. So the students are interested in what he/she talks about. S/he is also good at teaching, which is both a science and an art. Furthermore, s/he is able to notice those useless, less-than-effective things in the textbook. Instead, they would talk about something useful, everyday affairs or current news, through which the students feel that they have acquired the ability to talk about them too.

A Hungarian study factored in the important issue of learners' level of English. Mardid and Candado (2004) conducted a mixed approach research study to investigate both teachers' and students' preferences of NESTs and NNESTs and their influence on English language classrooms in Hungary. The findings revealed that there were significant differences from teachers' and students' perspectives in terms of pedagogical behavior of NEST and NNEST. Also, students' preferences for NESTs increased with their level. NESTS are preferred due to their fluency, obtaining better outcomes in oral communication, better in pronunciation, knowledge of vocabulary and spelling rules, the students receive more time of exposure to language with NESTS. However, NNEST were preferred in grammar, better understood learning process, more acquainted with the learners.

The question of the qualifications needed by a successful native speaking teacher are discussed by Braine (1999) who claims that native teachers of English-even without teaching qualifications-are more likely to be hired than qualified and experienced non-native teachers, especially outside the United States of America. From the students' point of view, it is certainly beneficial to have a native teacher. Native teachers can provide all the slang, colloquial vocabulary items, and help students with special usages and pronunciation problems.

The native speaker is not without disadvantages, of course. For example, some educators claim that native teachers might reflect their own cultural concepts, values and beliefs on his students. This may cause cultural conflict and shock when these values and beliefs contradict the values and beliefs of students. (Widdowson,1992). In contrast, other educators argue that native teachers can carry out the curriculum set by the ministry without cultural influence. He can respect and regard the cultural background of learners. Even the non-native teachers while teaching the western cultural issues, have to carry out authentic situations for learners as language is considered a tool of culture. The native teachers might bear an open attitude towards foreign culture, share with students how foreign culture differs from their own (Cook, 1999). On the other hand, is it disrespectful to the learner to expose them to another culture that possibly conflicts with their culture? The writer thinks that students will be exposed to many cultures due to striking progress in information technology and trends.

A Taiwanese study showed some of the major issues with NESTs. Wu and Ke (2009) carried out a research study to investigate Taiwanese students' perception towards their native-speaking English teachers (NESTs). This collected data through a mixed method approach by giving 107 students a questionnaire and interviewing three native English speaking teachers and 19 students who filled out a questionnaire (Wu and Ke, 2009). The results of the study showed mixed perceptions of native English speaking teachers. Firstly, students expected more encouragement and interaction. One third of students expected NESTs with a standard accent, whereas a quarter do not care about accent at all. On the other hand, the NESTs showed negative responses towards the students' passiveness and lack of responsiveness. Although the students expect the teachers to be to be interactive, they themselves showed an unwillingness to participate. In addition, the researchers recommended teachers should transform their teaching strategies and techniques to create attractive learning environments, and they should become informed about the cultural backgrounds of the students. Also intercultural and global trends should be catered for in teaching and learning a foreign language (Wu & Ke, 2009).

On the other hand, some educators argue that native speakers as language teachers have certain demerits regarding teaching and that non-native teachers are better in teaching the target language. The main issue is that a native speaking teacher cannot be a really effective learner model because he or she did not have to learn English as a second language. It is suggested that non-native speakers can teach better English than the native speakers.

The reason being that is they have struggled themselves to learn that language. They know exactly where learners lack and where they make mistakes often. They are also aware of many more techniques of learning to speak which is not the case with the native speakers (Coskun, 2008).

Other writers also see an advantage in the fact that a non-native speaking teacher has learnt English himself/herself. Phillipson (1996) in his book ''The native speaker's burden" (p.23) considers non-native English speaking teachers to be potentially the ideal English as a Second Language teachers than NESTs because they have gone through the process of acquiring English as an additional language. They have first-hand experience in learning and using a second language, and their personal experience has made them sensitive to the linguistic and cultural needs of their students. Many Non-Native English speaking teachers NNESTs, especially those who have the same first language as their students, have developed a keen awareness of the differences between English and their students' mother tongue. This sensitivity gives them the ability to anticipate their students' linguistic problems. Teachers who share the same language and cultural background as their students have an advantage: they display an acute sensitivity to their students' needs and are better able to develop an effective curriculum and pedagogy.

Cook (1999), also believes non-native teachers have the advantage: they are a lot more aware of the interconnection of the Students' mother tongue language and the English language (of course, if they're native speakers of the same language), and can decide on which areas are more problematic and which are less. Thus, these teachers can put more emphasis on certain constructs. Secondly, the cultural differences are also crucial; it could be argued that native speakers are less aware of the standards of behavior of their students in the UAE.

Non native speakers may also have a cultural advantage. Kawano (2000) claims that when English native teachers teach students, they do not understand their students` culture. The lack of knowledge will increase teachers' frustration and can lead to failure in building up better relationships between teachers and students. As a consequence, students can be discouraged and classroom activities will not be conducted smoothly. He added that each culture has its own preferred learning styles and that learners will succeed best in a classroom culture that recognizes and builds on the community culture.

Another area where non-native speaker teachers perform better is classroom management, since they have the knowledge of institutional culture, goals and classroom atmosphere. They know what to expect from and how to deal with the management, and students. This awareness of norms not only enables them to analyze students' needs better but also helps them to cope with a whole spectrum of issues, ranging from very different management practices to attitudes in classroom management such as cheating in examination, which may hinder the native speaker teacher's effectiveness. However, the native teacher can implement appropriate class room procedures to create an enjoyable learning environment and overcome behavioral obstacles that hinder learning and reduce learning outcomes. On the other hand, the native teacher can maintain appropriate classroom management if he employs adequate procedures and varies the techniques and activities to match the students` needs, interests and learning styles to guarantee their effective engagement in the learning process (Ustunluoglu, 2007).

Non native speakers also have disadvantages, however, according to researchers. Some native language teachers do not speak the Standard English and carry a strong foreign accent in their speech. Hence, their English is not accurate and not intelligible, sounding unnatural to the students. How can such a teacher teach efficiently if he himself cannot handle Standard English appropriately and sufficiently? (Janopoulos, 2003).

Henry Widdowson, the great TESOL scholar, once remarked that, in teaching English, the native speaker possessed "authenticity of language", but the non-native speaker (when teaching in his own cultural context) had "authenticity of pedagogy". This means that the native speaker knows his or her language thoroughly, "from the inside". He has learnt the language at his mother's knee .His growth as a person cannot be separated from his development in the language of his infancy. The trick is to what extent he can teach the language well and this depends on the training, natural ability for teaching and understanding the preferred learning styles and values of his students. In addition, a native speaker teacher should know everything of the students' language and the difficulties they may face.

Successful teachers would not only have authenticity of language, but authenticity of pedagogy as well. It is unrealistic though to expect that all native speaking English teachers will meet all the above conditions. Schools, therefore, employ the best they can get and, hopefully, at least some of the teachers meet these criteria. Some native speaking teachers, however, clearly don't meet the criteria at all of being good teachers .It is said that "authenticity of language "is regarded as being much more important than "authenticity of pedagogy". The employers hope that the teacher has enough teaching ability, even though perhaps untrained, perhaps inexperienced and perhaps unsuitable for other reasons to be a teacher. They seem to believe that the simple fact of hearing an authentic native speaker accent and authentic native oral grammar is more important than knowing how language is learned and how best to teach it. But what about the alternative: to employ bilingual teachers who are proficient at English?

There are some very good non- native teachers of English. These teachers not only know the language well, they also know the students well. They know what will help students to learn and they know what kinds of difficulties students are going to have with English. They also understand the values and expectations of culture and they can accept and fit in with the social and managerial culture of a local school. So why don't we employ these teachers who can do the job of teaching well instead of relying on native speaking teachers ? The answer is that there are not enough of them to go around. In fact, there appears to be not many local teachers at all who have the ability and the confidence and the desire to teach English. It is especially difficult to find local teachers who are able to teach subject content through English, as is required in a bilingual program.

Historically, there has been a preference for native speakers as teachers of a language. For instance, two of the most influential books in TESOL (Harmer, 1991 and Stern, 1983) assume that native speakers provide the target model for language learning, and Phillipson (1992) argues persuasively, albeit disparagingly, that the tenet of the ideal teacher being a native speaker has been widely accepted and has had a wide-ranging impact on language education policies. Within recent academic literature, however, this native speaker model which assumes that non-native English speaking teachers are inferior to native English speaking teachers (NESTs) has come under fire (Nemtchinova, 2005).

The academic literature and educational principle suggest that native and non-native English speaking teachers should be treated equally, yet in many countries there is a broad social and commercial preference for native speaker teachers which may also involve racial issues. Attitudes towards native and non-native English speaking teachers have typically been investigated through questionnaire surveys, but, since such attitudes may involve prejudices, other research methods designed to elicit implicit attitudes may be preferable. In one interesting study, the Implicit Association Test was used to investigate the implicit attitudes of Thai students towards native and non-native English speaking teachers, and results were compared with explicit attitudes elicited through a questionnaire. The results indicate that attitudes towards native and non-native teachers are complex with an explicit preference for native speaker teachers, but no implicit preference and warmer explicit feelings towards non-native speaker teachers (Todd. &Pojanapunya, 2008)

Kirkpatrick (2006) discusses the issue of English native speaking teachers thoroughly. He concluded that non native speaking teachers bring some unique skills to classroom as they set realistic models for students in a way that native speakers cannot do. For example, a student can look at a teacher of English and think, "I could be like that! He learned English really well, and so can I!" The same student might regard the English native speaking teacher as an unreachable model, "It's all very well and good for him, but he doesn't realize how difficult his language is to us. I'll never be able to speak English as well as he can." In this way, the local teacher can provide a level of motivation to many students. In addition, the non-native teacher who has successfully mastered the English pronunciation system is probably better equipped to teach learners than the native speaker, who might be restricted to being a model for students to copy. (Kirkpatrick 2006)

The priority of selecting native or non-native speaking teachers is determined by the objective and purpose behind the choice. For instance, some people think that English is best learned from native speakers because they want to speak English like a native speaker. But Kirkpatrick said there is no need for learners to speak English like native speakers Instead, educators should encourage learners to take pride in their status as bilinguals. (Kirkpatrick, 2006).

Maum (2002) stated that the term nonnative-English-speaking teachers (NNESTs) have become debatable among ESL professionals. Some hold that it is required that NESTs and NNESTs be distinguished because the distinctions between them are actually their merits and therefore worth noticing whilst others disagree with the dichotomy and feel that drawing a distinction among teachers according to their status as native speakers or not leads to the superiority of the NESTs and discrimination in hiring practices (Maum, 2002).

Medgyes (1992) states that NESTs and NNESTs differ significantly in their teaching practice as a result of their divergent language background but a teacher's effectiveness does not depend on his or her being a native speaker of English or not. Both the NESTs and NNESTs "serve equally useful purposes in their own terms" (Medgyes, 1992: 349) In this thesis, the terms native-/nonnative-English-speaking teachers are adopted as the writer considers the differences between these two types of teachers do exist and can be of benefit to learners in various aspects.

The writer suggests that the aim of learning English is to be revealed for learning English more effectively and having the ability to communicate not to speak like natives. In addition, non-native speaking teachers are more qualified to teach grammar and structure because they know the difference between Arabic and English language well. But of course, sometimes native speaking teachers are needed. Learning with NESTs, there is a merit because it helps students have the curiosity and interest of English by experiencing conversation with native speakers and their pronunciation, but we must avoid thinking that NESTs are the best English teacher. The best English teacher is a bilingual teacher who is good at both languages. However, the writer thinks that a language teacher should be judged with what he knows not who he is (native or non-native).


Throughout navigating through the literature of this topic, the researcher found that three main perspectives; the first one concludes that native speaking teacher is the best one to teach the language due to his natural efficiency and spontaneous competence. In contrast, other educators allege that non-native speaking teachers are more appropriate to teach English as they anticipate the difficulties and challenges of learning the language. Regarding the third track, the best and ideal teaching environment should include both kinds of teachers; native and nonnative. As far as the researcher concerned, the third track is the best and he recommends co-teaching to enable students to get the benefits and merits of both native and non-native speaking teachers.

Related Studies

In this section, the writer will survey literature dealing with current master theses and doctoral dissertations which have studied the topic of the perceptions of native and non-native speakers. The studies employed a variety of methodologies and are all recent publications. The studies chosen are up to date and varied in terms of the methodology they used and the manner in which they tackled the issues.

Al-Omrani (2008) carried out a mixed method study to investigate the perception and attitudes of three groups of Saudi students towards native and non native English speaking teachers. The study focuses on the pedagogical advantages and disadvantages of each type of teacher. It also concentrates on the areas in which a native English speaking teacher is superior and inferior to non-native ones. Al-Omrani also tried to explore the impact on the students of being taught by non native English teachers. This research study was carried out in two stages; a questionnaire was distributed to 100 students in the first stage and 16 out of the one hundred students were then subjected to an interview and follow up emails (Al-Omrani, 2008).

The findings of this dissertation showed that native English speaking teachers and non-native teachers have their own particular advantages and disadvantages. Native English speaking teachers are superior in teaching oral skills as they have the advantage of language fluency and accuracy. They also motivate students by expanding their exposure to language as learners are obliged to communicate only with their native teachers. In addition, they have the advantage of their knowledge of English culture and literature . Arab teachers of English benefit from their previous experience as foreign or second language learners and the superior ability to anticipate language learning difficulties and challenges that this gives them. This will grant teachers the ability to provide learners with some appropriate solutions and learning strategies as they are thoroughly aware of these learners' linguistic needs, difficulties and problems. Furthermore, sharing the same mother tongue and culture with the learners enables the teacher to choose the most appropriate themes, materials and topics. Besides, participants stand for using Arabic that can be effective in vocabulary and grammar class sessions On the other hand, the non-native teacher's lack of knowledge about English literature and the cultural background is a disadvantage. Therefore, non-native speaking teachers need to enrich their knowledge about English literature and culture, and native speaking teachers are urged to learn about the learners' culture. In contrast, the results indicate that there are other factors that are considered distinctive features of an excellent English teacher, such as the teacher's qualifications and teaching experience (Al-Omrani, 2008).

The researcher claims that the ideal learning situation for English as a foreign or second language is when the native and non native English speaking teachers work together. Dr Al-Omerani concludes that both native and non native speaking teachers are superior in different areas of language teaching and learning, so programs for each type of teacher should be designed accordingly. He also recommends co-operative work between native and non-native teachers, to complement each other in their points of weaknesses and strengths. This study is very similar to the UAE context in terms of the cultural background of participants. The ideal school is the environment where there is a good balance of native English speaking teachers and non-native English speaking teachers, who complement each other in their strengths and weaknesses (Al-Omrani, 2008).

One study which emphasizes the fact that the two types of teacher have different skills is Muramatsu (2008), who conducted a research study to investigate learners' attitudes towards native and non-native English speaking teachers in writing composition. The study also aimed to explore to what extent students' attitudes change after they were taught by both native and non-native speaking teachers. Muramatsu used quantitative and qualitative methods to ensure the credibility of the results; the researcher also collected his data through multiple sources like a questionnaire, which was distributed to forty three students taking a composition course given by NS and NNS teachers, and explored student attitudes towards teachers. Other data sources were used such as individual interviews, focus group interviews and conference video recording. The results of this study were revealed in 4 tables of the strengths and weaknesses of native speakers and non-native speaking teachers (Muramatsu, 2008).

Although the participants' responses were directly related to composition teachers based on nativeness, they gave us indicators about the English teachers in general (Muramatsu, 2008 ). Regarding the points of strength of a native speaking teacher, it was considered he had better knowledge of English and perfect fluency. He was also more relaxed and confident when teaching English in general, and writing in particular. In addition, he was open to discuss all types of current issues and other modern topics. Also, the participants claimed that this teacher had the knowledge sufficient for teaching mixed group classes and provided better feedback. Another important point was the teacher was familiar with American culture and literature, which were the learning context of the language .On the other hand, the participants identified some weaknesses of the NS teacher. For instance, he spoke too fast and students found it hard to follow and understand the lesson. He was also too busy to give enough support for non-native speaking students. Then he had little interest in global issues and little experience with non-native learners (Muramatsu, 2008).

In contrast, the participants also had more positive responses towards the non-native teachers, like the fact he could bring a global flavor to class. They added that a NNS teacher is more likely to understand NNS students and sympathize with them. Also, the NNS teacher was more knowledgeable about some issues such as grammar and spelling as he had the same experience in learning them. Furthermore, he had the ability to interact with all students and he was even open to learning from them and varying his teaching styles. The last point is that he was well-organized and more helpful (Muramatsu, 2008).

The NNS teacher has his own difficulties, such as with effective communication due to limited English. Also, he is not knowledgeable of all aspects of the language like idioms, slang, and rhetoric. In addition to the communication difficulties they face a lack of knowledge in literature and cultural background. The factors that students use to evaluate teachers like teachers' expertise, performance, personality traits, and so on, offer implications in developing teacher training programs. He recommended developing further research with "more emphasis on professionalism, the classroom become pedagogically meaningful without being restricted by dichotomous labeling based on NS or NNS status." (Muramatsu, 2008).

Another study that directly contrasted the performance of Native and non-Native speakers was conducted in Korea. Jung-Ok Kim initiated a qualitative study to investigate issues related to native and non-native teachers of English in Korean private schools. His research study aims to explore the perceptions of native and non-native English teachers of their roles, and students' perceptions of their teachers' roles in the Korean context during TOEFL test preparation courses (TPCs). It took the researcher two months to collect data through open-ended interviews with students and teachers, class observations, informal conversations, and school documents (Kim, 2008).

The results suggest that native and non-native teachers should be encouraged to improve their strengths through communication and collaboration in order to perform confidently in the courses. In addition to that teachers need to train students not only for the test but also to achieve high- English competence in the context of real world communication. Another point to raise is that native speaker teachers should become critical about the idea of being superior to non-native speakers due to their English proficiency (Kim, 2008). They need to allow themselves to change their view from "who you are" to "what you know" (Rampton, 1999, p.99).

Kim added that being a native speaker, considered by Chomsky to be "the idealized speakers of English" (Chomsky, 1965, as cited in Davis, 2003), does not necessarily guarantee that they are the most qualified teacher. A native English speaking teacher can provide authenticity and genuine cultural background but he might be inexperienced in teaching English. Kim suggested that native and non-native teachers' roles are difficult to generalize due to the individuality of each teacher and his abilities, experience and expertise. Also, teachers' roles and learners' perceptions of the roles tend to be different depending on his performance in class (Kim, 2008).

A Texan study showed that preferences varied according to the area of language study. Torres (2004) carried out a mixed method research study to explore the learners' preferences for native and non-native speaking teachers. A 34 item survey was delivered to one hundred and two students taking ESL programs in Texas in 2004.Then thirty two students volunteered for interviews talking about their preferences. The main two research questions focused on whether adult ESL students show general preferences for native or non-native English speaking teachers and the second question is based on learning a specific language skill area like pronunciation, American culture, or grammar. The study results indicated that adult ESL students have a general preference for native English speaking teachers over non-native speaking teachers (Torres, 2004). They also showed that ESL learners have strong preferences for NESTs in teaching production skills such as pronunciation and writing. The researcher concluded that they feel positive towards attributes inherent in each type of professional teacher, and native language status alone is not the only distinctive feature of a qualified language teacher (Torres, 2004).

Hohsung (2005) reveals some of the impact the emphasis on recruiting Native Speakers can have. He investigated how the native speaker model affected non native English speaking teachers in Korean English Language Teaching (ELT). Hohsung collected his qualitative data through interviews, classroom observations and personal conversations. The study results showed that the native speaker model has been profoundly embedded in the Korean context of English language teaching, and it has negatively influenced the participants who were non-native English speaking teachers in negotiating their status as English teachers. They perceive English as a threat not only to the Korean language but also to its culture and identity. In addition, the participants showed a negative self-image as a result of using the native speaker model only as a standard to evaluate teachers (Hohsung, 2005). In contrast, the participants construct positive images depending on whether they hold TESOL training certificates and their cultural background and experience as EFL learners. This study dealt with the issue in a foreign language learning context that is similar to the UAE context. It aimed to develop a better understanding of NNESTs' negotiation of their status in the context of EFL, and the status, roles and position of Korean EFL teachers. The study also aimed to develop programs for teacher training and curriculum improvement in English for Korean students to meet trainee teachers' needs. The participants in this study showed psychological and cognitive conflicts with the dominant native speaker model and they claimed that their unstable status influenced their performance in classroom (Hohsung, 2005).

Another study emphasized the contrasting strengths of the two types of teacher. Etelvo Ramos Filho initiated a study entitled "Students' perception of non-native ESL teachers" (2002). This qualitative research study aimed to explore how ESL students perceive their non-native speaker teachers. The researcher collected data through a questionnaire and class observations of 16 participants, then two non-native teachers, who taught the participants, were interviewed. While collecting and organizing the data, five areas were taken into consideration; non-native speaker teachers' characteristics, teachers' credibility, teachers as models, students' preferences and former experiences with other NNS teachers (Filho,2002). The results showed positive responses towards non-native teachers in spite of some negative perceptions. The participants prefer to be taught oral communication, writing, and American culture by native speaker teachers; whereas, NNS teachers are preferred to teach vocabulary and grammar. On the negative side, students were dissatisfied at some teachers' accents and poor pronunciation. The participants praised the non-native teachers for their patience, good command of grammar and sympathy towards students' problems and learning difficulties. Many participants' concern was of NNS teachers' pronunciation: thus teachers are urged to improve their pronunciation. The researcher recommended replicating this study in other contexts where students are not told about the benefits of having NNSs as teachers. (Filho, 2002).

Another piece of research brought out the differences clearly. Moussu (2006) carried out a research project to explore ESL learners' attitudes towards native and non-native English speaking teachers. The researcher surveyed the attitudes of 1040 ESL students and the variables used in the quantitative study were teachers' native language, students' mother tongue, gender, level and grade as well as changes in students' attitudes over time. Online and paper questionnaires were given to students at the beginning and the end of fall semester in 2005 (Moussu, 2006).

Results of the study showed some significant points. For example, students showed more positive responses towards native speaking teachers than non-native speaking colleagues. Then, positive attitudes increased significantly towards both types of teachers with time and exposure. Next, results revealed sharing the first language with teachers influenced the students' responses towards their teachers. After that, students do not view non-native teachers necessarily as grammar experts. In addition, non-native teachers showed a lack of confidence in their linguistic and teaching skills. However, the respondents praise the non-native speaking teachers' learning experience that can be used to anticipate learning challenges and problem solving. The final point to raise is that "nativeness" is not the key criteria: distinctive features for the successful teacher include three other issues that are to be taken into consideration; linguistic preparation, global awareness and teaching experience .To sum up, participants in this study appreciate their non-native teachers for their knowledge, caring, experiences and preparation despite some negative responses, and they do believe that both types of teachers complement each other in their points of strength and weaknesses. Besides, it is a stereotype that students who go to the USA prefer to study English with native speaking teachers (Moussu, 2006).

Non native teachers are reducing in relative numbers. Mahboob (2003) wrote a dissertation to explore the status of non-native speaking teachers in USA from various perspectives. This mixed method study aimed to investigate the reason behind the decreasing number of non-native teachers in ESL despite the increasing numbers of students. The results of the first part of the research study that were collected by a questionnaire given to 122 ESL program administrators showed that the number of non-native teachers is low. The results of the second part of the study, collected from qualitative data, stated that the participants' attitudes were complex. The participants felt that the native and non-native English speaking teachers complemented each other and they preferred to study with both of them. Also, the results showed the low number of non-native speaker teachers in ESL is a result of program administrators' focus on hiring native speakers. The students who participated in the study don't simply prefer teachers due to their "nativeness" status. In addition, students thought that both types of teachers together can contribute uniquely to language learning. They feel that native and non native teachers can create a conducive learning environment. The participants perceived that native speaking teachers teach grammar better, whereas non-native speaking teachers were strong in teaching oral communication (Mahboob, 2003).

The administrators who were interviewed showed that there are other important features beside native status that should be used to judge language teachers, like expertise and professional qualifications .To conclude, the students who participated in the interviews did not show a clear preference for any type of teacher, either native or non-native: they felt that both had unique qualities and the ideal situation for language learning and teaching is when both are working together (Mahboob, 2003).

Üstünlüoglu (2007) and Sue Yung Bae (2006) found differing opinions on the relative merits of the two types of teacher, with each having valuable characteristics. Sue Yung Bae conducted a research study on "Language Learners' Perceptions of Non-native English Speaking Teachers of English" in December 2006. This mixed method study aimed to explore how ESL students perceive their non-native speaking teachers. This dissertation also investigated the areas in which non-native speaking teachers show better or less expertise in comparison with the native speaking teachers (Bae, 2006). In order to develop an understanding of students' perceptions, Bae (2006) used a qualitative method to collect data through interviews and content analysis of 43 pieces of composition written by learners about their perceptions' and attitudes toward non-native speaking teachers. The study results showed that the participants gave positive responses to non-native speaking teachers for their capabilities and knowledge in explaining grammatical rules, and predicting the learners' challenges and difficulties. The participants feel that non-native speaking teachers are a good role model for second language learning. The students found that non-native teachers exhibited a higher level of affective factors like caring, patience and understanding of students' learning needs. In contrast, the students felt that they lack oral fluency and have strange accents. In fact, the participants showed generally positive responses to non-native teachers of English who were considered capable in many areas of language teaching, and even better than their native counterparts. The researcher recommended that both types of teachers should work together and co-operate for the benefit of teachers and students as well. He suggested a collaborative model that enables both types of teacher to exchange expertise and experience. Such an environment would raise the chance of creating an appropriate learning context (Bae, 2006).

Üstünlüoglu (2007), on the other hand, conducted a study about university students' perceptions on native and non-native teachers. The study aimed to investigate students' perceptions of native and non-native English teachers and to reveal their deficiencies and needs in the teaching process. 311 students were surveyed to evaluate 38 native and non-native speaking teachers. The 30 items of the questionnaire covered items related to teachers' role, individual features, class management and class communication. The results showed that there is a significant difference between these types of teachers from the students' perspective. The participants showed that non-native English speaking teachers perform better at class management and teaching whereas native speaking teachers are doing better in communication skill and enjoy more favorable qualities. In addition, the students thought that Turkish teachers of English were more serious and strict, while native English speaking teachers were more energetic and cheerful. The researcher suggests informing native speaking teachers about the cultural back ground of the students and he recommended the idea of co-operation between the two kinds of teachers.


The studies have many findings in common - a clear pattern emerges. An equally clear conclusion can be drawn - native speakers and non-native speakers complement each other so well that the ideal must be to offer courses where the two types of teachers share responsibilities. On the other hand, another important point that the studies emphasize is that it is not always possible to divide teachers according to the choice of non-native versus native speakers: each teacher has strengths and weaknesses which are reflections of other qualities, such as personality, professional qualifications and experience.

In fact, most of the studies do show positive responses towards native and non- native speaking teachers; however, each one has his own advantages and disadvantages. The ideal learning environment is the place where you can see both types of teachers to complement each other and learn from the strengths of their counterparts. As an overall trend, native speaking teachers are superior in language fluency and accuracy, which grants them confidence and spontaneity in the classroom. In addition, they tend to be more competent at oral communication, accurate pronunciation, and they have a good command of English culture and literature. In contrast, they often have little knowledge of the learners' culture, interests and social needs. The non-native speaking teachers are superior in their capabilities of anticipating the learners' challenges, difficulties and problems, they have the same experience in learning the same foreign language. Furthermore, they share the learners' culture and can understand students' learning styles better. Besides, their bilingualism grants them an opportunity to communicate better with the students, teach vocabulary and manage the class more efficiently, and take some useful insights from mother tongue transfer. From another side, non-native teachers can sometimes be less confident in the class room, and they exhibit some weaknesses in accent, pronunciation and other oral skills. It would also be of great interest to have more quantitative research to find out how much student performance varies for each type of teacher, there is a need to assess the various perceptions towards the two types of teachers.

In conclusion, both teachers can benefit learners in different areas so their cooperation will create an ideal language learning environment.