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TESOL: A Challenge for Immigrant Teachers - Essay Example

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According to Paikeday (1985), the notion of the so-called "native speaker" was left as a "figment of the imagination" probably because of the globalization trend (as cited in Moussu & Llurda, 2008, p. 316)…
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TESOL: A Challenge for Immigrant Teachers
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TESOL: A Challenge for Immigrant Teachers

316). There is no one, absolute way of learning a second language; others may learn it through formal classes while others learn it through immersion. There is a rising population of teachers who are non-native speakers of English but nonetheless teach it. The language proficiency of teachers who are non-native English speakers is often underestimated, following the view of Chomsky where native speakers were regarded with high credibility when it comes to language teaching (as cited in Moussu & Llurda, 2008). Being categorized as a native speaker or non-native speaker would not assure of a quality language learning for the learner. Although there are challenges in which non native TESOL instructor should handle, that does not mean that they are less effective; rather, they could as effective considering that they are more culturally diverse. Linguistic Challenges of Non-native TESOL Teachers Considering that English is just their secondary language, it is common to notice differences in linguistic qualities when a non-native speaker speaks in English and when a native speaker speaks it. According to Reves and Medgyes (as cited in Merino, 1997, p. 73), there are four linguistic competencies in which a non-native speaker lacks: vocabulary, fluency, pronunciation, and grammar. Knowledge of the first language and using it more frequently than the other affects the over-all performance in the second language. For example, in the case of pronunciation, each language has its own accent. Learners of English as a second language find it hard to "imitate" foreign accent. This would cause the students, as well as the ELT faculty to be skeptical about the teacher's skills. In this case, the credibility of the non-native speaker as an English teacher is at stake. On the other hand, is the little-known advantage of being a non-native speaker as teacher. Maum (n.d.) argued that non-native speakers of English can teach the language more effectively to second language learners because they know their needs and can "develop an effective curriculum and pedagogy." This might be reasonable knowing that the non-native speaker had undergone the same process as with the learners. Experience-wise, non-native speakers would be more sensitive to the learners' linguistic needs. Difference in uttering the language's phonology may be the most obvious observation between a native speaker and a non-native speaker. A survey made by Medgyes (1996) revealed that non-native speakers of the language may have an equal chance of teaching English effectively as with native speakers, and "the only area in which the NNESTs seemed to be less qualified--English language proficiency--was also one that gave them a certain advantage over native speakers" (as cited in Maum, n.d.). Ironically, the weakness that may be apparent in non-native English speaking teachers is the same thing which gives them an advantage. The fact that they have undergone the same thing at some point, then that should give a hint that they too, can teach English as efficiently. Discrimination of Non-native English Speaker TESOL Teachers In a study by Lushka and Solovova (2006), credibility issues between the native and non-native speakers were assessed through the opinions of second language learners. The result states that 29% of the respondents agree that native English speakers teach better, while the 28% believe that non-native speakers teach better. Although there is a difference of 1% in the measurement, it still does not prove that native speakers are better teachers of English because the percentages come from only two categories. The 29% of the respondents belong to "I agree somewhat" statement; while the 28% belong to "I disagree ... Read More
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