Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Native or Non-Native English Teachers: Who's Better?

A topic of great discussion is whether native or non-native English speakers make better teachers. However, in defining the word "better", many factors should be discussed including pronunciation, teaching style and techniques, understanding of foreign cultures, personality, attitude, and passion for teaching. Personally, as a language teacher, I often hear students say that they can't understand the accent of non-native teachers here in the US, always comparing their accent to my own, standard, accent, but these students often are surprised to learn about and hear the wide variety of accents in the US that sound "foreign", but which are just part of this country.

So, what do you think about this topic? Please share your thoughts and experiences.



  1. Native or non-native English speakers make better teachers.
    This topıc is very interesting and well.ıf l dont know anything about Englısh fırstly ,l must choose a non-natıve Englısh teacher .Because ,l must ask her/his a lot of thıngs about Englısh relıefly.After l start to mean Enlısh logıc,l have to speak a native Englısh teacher who wıll learn true pronuncatıon and knowledge.

    Ayhan TOKCAN

  2. At the Linguaphone Group ( they use a mixture of native and non-native English language teachers to provide a full and complete English language course.

  3. Well, I think it doesn't really matter as long as the teacher has a great understanding of classroom
    management and its complexities as well as excellent knowledge of the language ( of how it works as a system and its current use).

  4. I think native speakers is better than non-native speaker because They can speak alright accent.

  5. For me,I really prefer a native english speaking teacher but with the experience..Since it is very important for me to pronounce the words perfectly I prefer native speakers..And if she/he has experience about foreign learners this would be my dream also..Because he/she knows the way how we think while writing or speaking English...
    Fatma Yesil Badendieck

  6. From my perspective, quality language teaching depends on many factors, not just the level of language expertise of the teacher. However, I agree that being a native speaker is perceived as a feature of paramount importance by most non-native students of English.

    Cheers from sunny Mar del Plata, Argentina.

  7. Both of them are good. Grammar, writting and some other `technics` could be teach by both. Pronunciation, personally I prefer native.

  8. I prefer native English speakers because he/she can't speak my launguage. This reason make me to try to communicate with teachers by either hands or my english language which isn't good enough. In my opinion,I think native speakers help me to speak better.
    xisum Thailand

  9. From my previous experience, I believe that it doesn't really matter if they are native speakers or not. I'm not a native speaker and I've learned from both kinds of teachers. It doesn't depend on where the teacher was brought up but the techniques he or she uses to bring the ideas to the class. The more dynamic, the better. Most of students have this kind of visual and leisure association with English because of a teacher's influence, whether he's a native speaker or not.

  10. Hello everyone

    If I had had to respond this question some years ago, my answer would have been native teachers. However, I have to say that in my experience, both can be excellent teachers.

    I think non-native teachers are perfect when the student is beginner, but native teachers are better when you are in intermediate or advanced level.

    In my experience, I can say that the two better teachers that I ever had are a Canadian teacher and a Mexican teacher. I think the most important characteristic in a teacher (besides the knowledge of the language, of course) is the passion of the teacher for the teaching.


  11. Hello. I'm from Japan. I think that non-native English teacher is better than native English teacher. In my opinion, if we have trouble in the class, sometimes we cannot tell him/her the situation correctly. However, I want the teacher who can speak Japanese as second language to teach me.


Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.