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An Investigation of Strengths and Weaknesses of NESTs and NNESTs: As Seen From TESOL Students’ Perspectives

  • Modern English Education
  • Abbr : MEESO
  • 2016, 17(3), pp.1-24
  • Publisher : The Modern English Education Society
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Language Teaching
  • Published : August 31, 2016

Hyejin Lee 1

1The State University of New York at Buffalo

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article examines how NNESs and NESs in learning-to-teach contexts (L2 teacher education programs) perceive their own strengths and weaknesses as ELT professionals. By examining the issue of native versus non-native speaker in the ELT field, this study aims to shed light on the pedagogical uniqueness exhibited by these two linguistically distinctive groups. This study adopts semi-structured in-depth interviews to elicit four NES and three NNES participants’ understanding of themselves and their worlds which determines their self-identification as ELT professionals. The semi-structured interviews were analyzed through a thematic content analysis to locate themes regarding positive and negative aspects of NESTs and NNESTs. The overall findings suggest that different cultural and linguistic backgrounds between NESs and NNESs differentiate linguistic, socio-cultural and pedagogical strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the results also indicate that the presence of NESs seems to raise NNESs’ awareness of their “non-native” status in terms of what they can offer versus their perception of what ideal English teachers should possess, and vice versa. With the findings, this study directs attention to the pedagogical contribution of both NNESTs and NESTs by addressing the ideological issue of the native speaker fallacy surrounding the ELT field.

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