eslHQ Home
User Name Password
Lost Password? | Join eslHQ.com, it's FREE!
View today's posts
Search Extras Help   

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 10th, 2006, 07:30 pm
emile's Avatar
Sifu
 
Join Date: Mar 21st, 2006
Posts: 338
emile is on a distinguished road
Default What level of English should a non-native teacher have?

(from another post...)

Quote:
To be honest I know quite a few Canadians that are not totally native speakers in English but can "pass" as an English teacher in Korea
This begs the question, what level of English do you think a non-native teacher (a non-naive teacher?) should have?
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 10th, 2006, 07:49 pm
Denis DNT's Avatar
I like it hot!
 
Join Date: Oct 13th, 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 254
Denis DNT is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Hi Emile.
That's a good question there, very close to the one I have been asking most of my students, employers and colleagues for 8years in ESL teaching. So I am not suggesting and answer to your question but I am adding a second dimension to the question:
Does the fact that X is a native English speaker make X an ESL teacher automatically? And does the fact that Y is from a non-native English speaking country disqualify Y as an ESL teacher?
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 10th, 2006, 08:30 pm
Whistleblower's Avatar
English Teacher/Examiner
 
Join Date: Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Eastbourne, UK
Posts: 178
Whistleblower is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Well, sorry to pour some petrol on the flames of this debate, but the director and some Korean teachers I work with at the moment have poor English skills. One Korean teacher has never been abroad and I hear her shouting Korean jokes in English "Do you want to die?". I understand the difference in culture but there comes a point where a non-native English teacher is expected to have been abroad to understand the cultural and linguistic differences.

The second Korean English teacher has also never been abroad and has a very very very heavy Korean accent. He teaches English phonetics using the Korean alphabet and some conversations. It is also very teacher centred (repeat the teacher). When the students leave their class, I ask some questions or have some conversations that they have learnt and they can't recall what they have learnt.

However, my wife, who is Korean and lived in England for 10 years, has a very British accent and her Korean is considered posh now, and she teaches English. She understands Korean and English culture which helps her classes. She is going into my classes to replace me when I go for the CELTA Course for four-five weeks.

Nonetheless, I find it absolutely unbelievable that an English Teacher from Korea with no overseas experience can teach English in a school. I also find in unbelievable that they employ Korean English Teachers who are unable to communicate effectively with a native teacher.

Finally, the school I work with is called a "Native School" but I am the only native. I only cover 1/3 of classes and the rest are covered by one gyopo (who is very good) and two Korean teachers (who had not been abroad). Interesting topic nonetheless.
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 10th, 2006, 10:46 pm
livinginkorea's Avatar
Ninja Fighting Teacher
 
Join Date: Jan 16th, 2006
Location: South Korea
Age: 38
Posts: 378
livinginkorea is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Very interesting topic. I have met many Koreans who are trying to pass for a gyopo having only spent a month in Australia or something like that. Just like whistleblower I have one boss who speaks very little English, extremely little to be the owner in all honestly, who deals with native English teachers. He just gives me the schedule and pays me on time so it's all good

Also in Korea there are some Universities in Canada that are not accepted by the educational office to be native teachers of English here. But the governemt want to have a native teacher in all schools before 2008 (probably changed now) but that is not going to happen unless they start treating English teachers with more respect.

I have worked in the public schools too and see how my co-teachers are looked down upon by their "homeroom" counterparts. They are the last to find out everything and the levels are so important here it's mind blowing. So there has been some resentement towards native teachers, even going so far as the teachers assocation asking the government to use the money that they have for hiring and housing native teachers to send them to the US, Australia, Canada, Uk etc so that they can have the same level as native teachers. Of course nobody has thought, you will teach English when all the Korean English teachers are gone training!!
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 10th, 2006, 10:54 pm
livinginkorea's Avatar
Ninja Fighting Teacher
 
Join Date: Jan 16th, 2006
Location: South Korea
Age: 38
Posts: 378
livinginkorea is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

To answer the OP (instead of my last ramblings) I think that an English class should be mostly conducted in English, except for some explainations or discipling young leaners. There are loads of tools and web resources out there to help any teacher to get a comfortable knowledge of classroom English and they shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes.

I had one co-teacher before who has great English but was so afraid to make mistakes that they talked only in Korean! Being confident is very important for teachers especially if it isn't there language. We shouldn't correct them too much as that's not our job. It's our job to correct the students and not to undermine the teacher in the class even if they are wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 11th, 2006, 06:23 am
Sue
 
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
Posts: 1,339
susan53 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Love the typo - we should all be non-naive teachers ...

Seriously .... I work as a teacher trainer with both native and non-native speaker teachers, and I don't think that there's a simple answer. First of all, I'd want to know : is the person (whether NS or NNS) a good teacher? I honestly think that's the most important thing. Secondly, does s/he have a sufficiently accurate language competence (which may involve cultural knowledge) to teach the level and type of students involved.

For instance, if I had a young child learning English for the first time, I'd be far more interested in the teacher's ability to make the lessons fun and to motivate kids than their knowledge of phrasal verbs. If I were looking for a teacher for an advanced level somewhat agressive managing director of a multinational, I'd apply different criteria - but again, might decide that a teacher with close to native proficiency, a confident personality and a lot of business experience was preferable to the other teacher I had available who, though native speaker, was young and inexperienced, had never worked or taught in a company environment, was very shy and unconfident etc.

As far as how close a non-native speaker can get to native speaker competence - I have known a few teachers who were completely indistinguishable from native speakers, and several more whose spoken English was indistinguishable even though their academic essays showed a certain amount of inaccuracy. Again, I might not put these teachers on very high-level courses which involved writing skills, but they would have been fine on at least 70% of course types. But quite honestly, I've known a lot more native speaker teachers of whom I'd say the same.

You also have to take into consideration the fact that native-speaker English is no longer a necessary model for a large number of learners. My students, for example, are constantly involved in international meetings - with Germans, Latvians, French, Spanish, Hungarian, Swedish ... and every other European nationality. The British and Irish make an occasional appearance, but if present at all are always a minority. English is spoken as a lingua franca, and in an international version that wipes out the idioms, phrasal verbs, reduction in pronunciation etc etc that are the main stumbling blocks for non-native speakers. I've known quite a lot of non-native speakers who could, therefore, do my job as well as me from the linguistic point of view.


I think you always have to evaluate the person as an individual, and in relation to the situation. There is currently, (at least in Europe, and in my opinion very unfair) market-driven prejudice against non-native speakers that refuses to take these factors into account. I am NOT saying that you accept anyone who walks in - linguistic competence must always be evaluated. But don't rule out NNSs out of hand.
__________________
An ELT Notebook
The DELTA Course
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 11th, 2006, 10:45 am
Denis DNT's Avatar
I like it hot!
 
Join Date: Oct 13th, 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 254
Denis DNT is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Thanks Sue for the insight. It's a broad topic. Your comment could pass for an introduction for a big book I imagine the title to be: Who Is An ESL Teacher? In fact, before bringing it up I knew how it was going to heat up. It's nice reading from you guys there in Korea. I teach in a Korean school located in Beijing and the experience is slightly different.
Back to the issue of "market-driven prejudice against non-native speakers" as rightly put by Susan, it is something that calls for attention especially in these modern times, with uncountable campaigns aimed at solving social problems like racism, discrimination, inequality, etc. I have been hoping that someone takes up this sensitive topic for a thesis. My experience in China and Beijing in particular is one that I will tell even to my grand children: The first school hired me in Xi'an and the boss asked me to lie to students and parents that I was American. Then I told him I couldn't do that because I loved my country and secondly because I couldn't answer the questions students would ask about America. That strained our relationship badly and I left after six months. That was my "welcome to Asia." In Beijing, after a few contacts one of them called and said my CV was quite impressive. But as soon as I finished introducing myself his only remark was: "I wonder what it will look like to have a black African teaching in class." Then he hung up on me. That night it tortured me so much that I was at the school at 7 o'clock the next morning. My plan was simple: To beg them to let me have a demo and show them how it was to have a black African teaching in class. Coincidentally some of the preferred whites they were expecting didn't turn up. So they reluctantly showed me to a classroom of giggling teenagers. As stares from all directions bore holes on my body I said to myself. "Denis, teach this one lesson and leave racist Asia."
To avoid a flood of questions all to know where I was from I started the lesson with a full introduction of myself and my origin. Then from the innermost part of my heart I taught a lesson on subject - verb agreement.
They hired me that same day. Friends convinced me to bury my anger. I taught there for four weeks. When they had seen what it was to have a black African teaching in class. They asked me to sign a full time contract. I just waited until they paid me for the four weeks I had put in and then I walked out on them to my present school where they accepted me as a teacher and not as a black African. My present school has given me a very high impression of Korea as a country and its people.
Where would you guys there in Korea place "racism" as far as ESL teaching is concerned?
Denis.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 11th, 2006, 08:35 pm
Whistleblower's Avatar
English Teacher/Examiner
 
Join Date: Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Eastbourne, UK
Posts: 178
Whistleblower is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Umm, I wouldn't really say I have encoutered racism, but I would say that I have encountered disagreements with Koreans. These Koreans are normally I wouldn't associate with though. They are bus or taxi drivers who have the guts to question me or pretend not to understand me. I think that this is very simple. They are not racist but they are just narrow-minded.

I remember when I had to take a bus home each evening and to be honest it was torture, but it did teach me the confidence to speak up in Korean. I would board the bus and tell the bus driver where I wanted to go (eg. the name of the Apartment). I was then looked at with a stare and a grunt "Uhh!". This was painful for me because I used to practice each day and night the usual sentence of where I wanted to go. After about ten months of this usual grunt of the bus driver, even though sometimes it was the same guy, I had enough. You know people can only take so much. So I spoke in my classroom voice with all aboard the bus hearing me the name of the Apartment. Nothing. Then the people on the bus started shouting to the driver the name of the bus. He even dismissed this and acted absent minded. When I got near the apartment I pointed to the Apartment and shouted "테산 (Taesan)!!!". He replied "ahhhh .... 테선 (Taeson)". I looked at him when he stopped and I said "Igouyaya" (a Korean expression used to say "you poor thing"). He got completely red and apologised. And since this experience it was so odd, I had no other problems since that incident. I used to think that the bus drivers would have bets on teasing the foreigner when he got on the bus.

Anyways, that was the worst incident I had in Korea. Of course you always have in your mind "is it me?". I think that it is not just how you think but how you really deal with the experiences that are important. If you really have something on your mind, then you should speak out. If you feel you are right just say it. But you need to act professionally, especially when dealing with the Korean English teachers. If you are right and you know you are right, then your fellow colleagues will understand your logic.

Nonetheless, I really appreciate the hardwork that non-natives provide when they teach at a school, but the teaching of English must have some relevance with experience of learning English earlier, preferably abroad. I understand that L2 must be used at a certain time to provide an understanding for the students if they find something difficult or hard to understand. However, if classes are conducted in a "Korean Style" then this is questionable. Korean classes are conducted by speaking in Korean and translating a paragraph of text. This is great if students what to be translators, but this is not good if students what to learn English. My wife's middle school student had just finished his English Exam at school. We looked at his papers and he got good results. But then we asked, "how do they test your speaking?" They don't is the answer and this is the major problem with Korean education of English. Koreans need to be more aware of English acquisition and the learning style of students. They really need to update their teaching methods if they want English as second language in Korea by 2008. But it won't work because the politicians or people in power learnt the Korean method and by them it works. They don't see the other points of view. Nonetheless, this is a great topic.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 12th, 2006, 02:16 am
clivehawkins's Avatar
Clive Hawkins
 
Join Date: Aug 1st, 2006
Location: Italy
Posts: 454
clivehawkins is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Here at the university the non-native speakers teach up to and including pre-intermediate (we follow Headway to give you some idea of the level). Many of them have followed advanced courses with me and I'd say for the most part they were capable enough of teaching pre-intermediate. As others have said before, I strongly agree that it's most important to have a teacher that knows how to teach. I've worked with mother tongues who frankly shocked me with their appaling attitude and conviction that being English was sufficient to teach. The non-native speakers, generally, put a lot more effort into their work to make up for the fact that they are non-native.
__________________
Free audio files and worksheets - improve your listening skills:
ESL PodCards

Get TEFL qualified in Sardinia!:
Tefl in Sardinia
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 12th, 2006, 07:29 am
livinginkorea's Avatar
Ninja Fighting Teacher
 
Join Date: Jan 16th, 2006
Location: South Korea
Age: 38
Posts: 378
livinginkorea is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Totally agree with you whistleblower. Many times we seem to think the same about Korea!

Koreans aren't racist they are just narrow minded and don't believe for a second that any waegook (foreigner) could learn their "scientific" langauge. This is the reason why I have stopped learning Korean because even if I speak it or not, people react the same - totally bewilderment (sp?) and respond to me in English or Konglish.

Many of my friends or old students have told me that when they went to school they were told what was right and wrong for all subjects. They was only black and white, no grey They were told that only Korea has four seasons, that it's ok to call an African-American a ni**ar (according to two students), that all white people are american, the coloured autumn leaves are only in Korea and that everybody loves Korea. Nobody could agrue with the teacher and just accept it. Very sad but the system has to change or else more and more students will be going to private schools or other countries.
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 12th, 2006, 09:05 am
Denis DNT's Avatar
I like it hot!
 
Join Date: Oct 13th, 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 254
Denis DNT is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Wow!! This topic is doing great! Yeah most of the students have grown up with ideas from their parents about other countries of the world -usually very absurd ideas. One chinese student in Beijing walked up to me after class and asked what people drank in Africa since there was no water. And then went further to explain to me how it was the hot sun of the desert in Africa that had turned our bodies so black. I was completely lost as I stood there listening to this young guy lecturing me on how I became black!!!
It's a little consoling to know that some other persons out there are going through similar situations.
Keep coming!
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 14th, 2006, 07:49 pm
emile's Avatar
Sifu
 
Join Date: Mar 21st, 2006
Posts: 338
emile is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Quote:
I was completely lost as I stood there listening to this young guy lecturing me on how I became black!!!
oh dear...

White folks get some strange things too. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I've heard of schools looking for a 'white' teacher instead of a 'native speaker'. Many times I've been asked to go to a meeting because it looks good to have a white guy there. On the negative side, just watch the taxi drivers and people at the markets jack up the prices when they see me.

Interestingly enough, white people are called 'matsalleh' here in Malaysia, and it's not considered derogatory but no one knows why we're called it. The word itself is a common Malay name and doesn't seem to have any special connotation. It's as if Americans decided to call all Malay people 'Derek' for no apparent reason!
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 15th, 2006, 04:51 am
SimplyESL
 
Join Date: Jul 13th, 2006
Posts: 250
simplyesl is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

I think a non-native should be able to produce and understand, without a doubt, the language that they are teaching (or reviewing).
__________________
Simply ESL - Save time preparing your lessons by using our lesson plans and activities.
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 15th, 2006, 09:41 am
Whistleblower's Avatar
English Teacher/Examiner
 
Join Date: Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Eastbourne, UK
Posts: 178
Whistleblower is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Quote:
Quote simplyesl
I think a non-native should be able to produce and understand, without a doubt, the language that they are teaching (or reviewing).
I completely agree with that point. I also believe that non-natives should have cultural awareness with the language(s) they teach. It is very important to understand the differences in communication culturally.
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 19th, 2006, 07:17 pm
emile's Avatar
Sifu
 
Join Date: Mar 21st, 2006
Posts: 338
emile is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Quote:
I also believe that non-natives should have cultural awareness with the language(s) they teach. It is very important to understand the differences in communication culturally.
...so Whistleblower, to play devils advocate, in the case of English would that be American culture, British culture or global culture?
Reply With Quote
  #16 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 19th, 2006, 09:00 pm
Whistleblower's Avatar
English Teacher/Examiner
 
Join Date: Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Eastbourne, UK
Posts: 178
Whistleblower is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Emile, I wasn't really suggesting a particular country as each country has their own unique culture. But I believe that it is very important for a non-native to understand the culture of communication compared to their home country. For example, American culture is regarded as polycentric, independent and low context (Edward Hall). Korean culture is more ethnocentric, team orientated and high context (Edward Hall). This is really what I was pointing at rather than suggesting a particular culture, as you may be aware each country has their own culture and would be quite silly to suggest one country's culture.

I hope you understand what I am trying to say. For example, if I moved to America I would have to adjust to the American way of doing things, culturally, as I am British. But I have never heard of the term "global culture" - I suppose you mean geocentric culture.

Nonetheless, it is important for native teachers to understand the differences in communication culturally to better understand their colleagues and their students, as well as survive in the country they are living. But it is also the responsibility of non-natives to understand and appreciate the culture from an English Speaking country, albeit Denmark, Britain, America, Canada or South Africa.
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 19th, 2006, 09:14 pm
emile's Avatar
Sifu
 
Join Date: Mar 21st, 2006
Posts: 338
emile is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

I guess what I was getting at is that English can be removed from culture in certain ways.

Take the situation here in Malaysia for example. English is used as the language of business in the private sector. Hence a non-native learner is taught by a non-native teacher to use English as a communication tool with other non-native speakers. The style of English spoken would be 'Malaysianised' in certain ways. Hence the teacher need not be an expert in the culture of an English speaking country.
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 19th, 2006, 09:38 pm
livinginkorea's Avatar
Ninja Fighting Teacher
 
Join Date: Jan 16th, 2006
Location: South Korea
Age: 38
Posts: 378
livinginkorea is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Quote:
Quote emile
I guess what I was getting at is that English can be removed from culture in certain ways.

Take the situation here in Malaysia for example. English is used as the language of business in the private sector. Hence a non-native learner is taught by a non-native teacher to use English as a communication tool with other non-native speakers. The style of English spoken would be 'Malaysianised' in certain ways. Hence the teacher need not be an expert in the culture of an English speaking country.
With those business men learning English they would have to know how to act in certain formal situations. For example is some countries you can't sit in the seat facing the door whereas in other countries it's fine. In Korea the younger man must pour drink for the older or higher position man. Every country has certain things like that and I always teach that to my students. It's definitely important.
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 14th, 2007, 12:57 am
Eric18's Avatar
Compelling Conversations
 
Join Date: May 24th, 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 165
Eric18 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-naive teacher have?

Great discussion. I enjoyed reading the dialogue.
__________________
Shalom

Eric
eric@compellingconversations.com
www.compellingconversations.com

"Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity."
Aristotle, 4th Century BCE, Greek philosopher
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 16th, 2007, 07:30 pm
Denis DNT's Avatar
I like it hot!
 
Join Date: Oct 13th, 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 254
Denis DNT is on a distinguished road
Default Re: What level of English should a non-native teacher have?

A lot of ESL learners still prefer qualified non-native English teachers to native English teachers. Their strong point is that the non-native English teacher understands their problems better.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads Replies
5 Steps to an English Only Classroom 29
Electronic Dictionaries in ESL/EFL Learning 10
Qualification Requirements to Teach English in Asia 14
Experienced ESL Teacher looking for work in Jakarta, Indonesia 0

Find the Best TEFL, TESL, TESOL & CELTA Certification Courses - User Submitted Ratings & Reviews for Online, Distance & Abroad TEFL Courses. Over 3,500 reviews of 100+ TEFL schools!

Teach English in Thailand - Onsite and Combined TEFL certification courses in Phuket, Thailand.


Free ESL Flashcards


Similar Threads Replies
5 Steps to an English Only Classroom 29
Electronic Dictionaries in ESL/EFL Learning 10
Qualification Requirements to Teach English in Asia 14
Experienced ESL Teacher looking for work in Jakarta, Indonesia 0


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:00 pm.

All materials from this website are for classroom-use only. Digital redistribution of materials, in part or in whole, is strictly forbidden!

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2