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    Do you have to be a native English speaker to teach English?

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    I completely disagree with the notion that you have to be a native English speaker to teach English. I think that to teach English properly, one has to have a better understanding of the language, its grammar, sentence structure, pronunciation and more. Based on personal experience, I found it easier to correct some grammatical errors, pronunciation problems due to the fact that I have been in a similar predicament myself. I can also advise on how to fix them in a manner easily understood by foreign-born people. Also, one problem I have encountered with my students was speaking speed. Not many are aware that the normal speaking speed of English is too fast for foreign-born learners. As such, it becomes difficult for them to understand what they are being taught. Individuals with deeper knowledge of the language can slow their speaking speed to give time for the student to comprehend the words that are being said. Everyone always produces thoughts with their native language so if one were to try to listen to or to speak in a language that is foreign to them, they have to translate the idea in their minds. I would say that native speakers have an advantage when it comes to accent and practical uses of the language but it doesn\'t mean they are capable better understanding of it where you also know the rules behind it, why it is used in that manner and how can in be used in different situations. rnrnAll in all, native speakers and non-native speakers are capable English teachers all on their own. Knowledge and understanding is the main key in proper education of English. Someone out there :P
    All the speakers posted to the left seem to be mixing being native or nonnative with being educated in English well or... not so much so. For a foreign-born ESL teacher it is advantageous to have the experience of living in an English speaking country. That usually sorts out the problem of idioms or polite forms. Even then though, a smart learner at the advanced level will take the most from interacting with natives over internet as well as from movies. \r\nOn the other hand we observe here, in the field (myself teaching in China), natives with very restricted use of their language. \r\nIt is not down to nationality, but education.Callum
    I\'m a non-native teacher with a very high command of English. Having lived and studied at uni in an English- speaking country for a number of years, gave me an opportunity to acquire the language at near-native level.I was teaching a very beginner, adult student quite recently and I know that no native teacher would be capable of teaching her effectively unless they would have undergone a comprehensive process of second language learning, which is rather uncommon. As well as that, they would need to have an extreme level of sensitivity and patience to do so, which is hard to achieve, if you\'re teaching your mother tongue.Despite native teachers being able to provide a native pronunciation model and in some cases, having a superior lexical awareness, this does not have to mean they are suited to teach English as a second/ foreign language. For example, I wouldn\'t say I can teach my first language just because I speak it as it\'s spoken in my country.I think native language teachers can be very successful at adopting a \'helping out\' role; e.g. they could help an upper-intermediate student to write a CV according to standards typical of English-speaking countries. However, linguistically, non-native teachers can often provide extremely sophisticated explanations in terms of both, structure and function. They can be very realistic about what students can and cannot do at certain level, can anticipate potential difficulties students may face, are extremely sensitive to understanding non-English accents from around the globe and handle these with care and understanding. To summarise, I think both types of teachers can be equally useful ( although in varying ways sometimes), provided they are very competent users and analysts of the language, they are committed to the profession of teaching and are able to connect with their students in their learning process. That\'s why I dasagree with discrimination against many educators in the recruitment process, on the basis of their nationality rather than skills.anonymous
    Not at all. People learn and acquire English. I have heard educated native speakers of the language pronouncing the words wrongly. Would you rather have your child be taught by an unqualified native English speaker with very poor spelling than have a person who is qualified and experienced? Mpho
    i would have to say yes, English is changing drastically, I could teach you English but it wouldn't have much use in England, we use slang, shorten sentences and have strong accents you could get your point across but you may not understand the reply the same goes to america and australia max
    Anyone that can say their ABCs can teach English. At the lower levels the native speaker often cannot communicate with students effectively enough to translate difficult concepts. At the higher levels the native speaker is without a doubt superior except in a few rare cases. So it depends on the level of class. This assumes that the teacher is qualified in the first place.\r\nIn response to Bram below, it seems like to me you have low quality native speakers. Maybe your pay is too low.James
    Anyone that can say their ABCs can teach English. At the lower levels the native speaker often cannot communicate with students effectively enough to translate difficult concepts. At the higher levels the native speaker is without a doubt superior except in a few rare cases. So it depends on the level of class. This assumes that the teacher is qualified in the first place.James
    Anyone that can say their ABCs can teach English. At the lower levels the native speaker often cannot communicate with students effectively enough to translate difficult concepts. At the higher levels the native speaker is without a doubt superior except in a few rare cases. So it depends on the level of class. This assumes that the teacher is qualified in the first place.James
    It does depend somewhat on the context, but the reality is that it takes years and years to gain a high level of proficiency in a language. And a basic requirement for teaching anyone anything is a *higher* level of knowledge than what you're aiming to convey; something we seem to have conveniently forgotten in many of today's education systems. I would not be happy if a non-native speaker taught me another language - I'm sure we all remember disastrous experiences of this at school, where the teacher knew barely more than the pupils and had (what even we could tell was) a horrifying accent. Chris
    I am a non-native academic director who is responsible - amongst many other things - for recruiting. During an interview I always ask a couple of questions to check the candidate\'s language command. When asked for grammatical explanations, native speakers often hesitate and come up with some kind of vague description whereas non-natives often have a very clear idea on grammar forms, rules and uses. Students who are learning English as a second language love it when their teacher can give them crystal clear explanations about grammatical items.Bram Ramaut
    Language is always linked to culture. If your a native speaker, you are aware of the link between the two. Many times I had to correct non-native teachers for saying things which was linguistically correct but, if said in a native English country, would be considered rude.You are also aware of the idioms, nuances and the slang/standard English divide betterYasin
    Too presumptive of you to say that, Mike. Here are some of the reasons why it doesn\'t have to be just Native speakers (NSs)to teach English and give Non-Native Speakers (NSSs) an equal playing field.
    As what you have mentioned in your post i.e \"NNSs may have a better knowledge of the grammar...\", let me add more details.
    (1)They provide good learning model to their students;
    (2)They can teach language strategies very effectively; and
    (3)They are able to provide more information about the language to their student.

    What is more important, having a native english background or recognizing experience and professionalism?


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    Being born into a language doesn\'t mean that one inherently speaks it well.
    Paul
    Native speakers have a better understanding of the language and how it is used. Non-native English speakers may have a better knowledge of the grammar but not the nuances of use.Mike
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