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Review of  Non-Native Language Teachers


Reviewer: Burcu Ates
Book Title: Non-Native Language Teachers
Book Author: Enric Llurda
Publisher: Springer Nature
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English
Issue Number: 17.1211

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EDITOR: Llurda, Enric
TITLE: Non-Native Language Teachers
SUBTITLE: Perceptions, Challenges and Contributions to the
Profession
SERIES: Educational Linguistics 5
PUBLISHER: Springer
YEAR: 2005

Burcu Ates, doctoral student, Department of Teaching, Learning, &
Culture, Texas A&M University at College Station

Non-Native Language Teachers: Perceptions, Challenges and
Contributions to the Profession is the most recent book that focuses
on non-native language teachers. Previous volumes include books
such as ''Non-Native Educators in English Language Teaching''
(Braine, 1999), and ''Learning and Teaching from Experience:
Perspectives on Nonnative English-Speaking Professionals'' (Kamhi-
Stein, 2004).

The editor has collected 15 articles which are all written by prominent
scholars who are involved in non-native speaker (NNS) of
English/Native speaker (NS) of English research. As stated in the back
of the book ''This volume is particularly rich in providing different
approaches to the study of non-native teachers: NNS teachers as
seen by students, teachers, graduate supervisors, and by themselves.
It also contributes little explored perspectives, like classroom
discourse analysis, or a social-psychological framework to discuss
conceptions of NNS teachers.'' The book adds a valuable contribution
to the growing literature on non-native English speaking teachers
(NNESTs).

The book is organized in five parts. Part 1: Setting up the Stage: Non-
native teachers in the twenty-first century, Part 2: NNS teachers in the
classroom, Part 3: Perspectives on NNS teaching-in training, Part 4:
Students' perceptions of NNS teachers, and Part 5: NNS teachers' self
perceptions.

One of the biggest strengths of this book is that previously in other
volumes, the NNS research was mainly conducted in a North
American (ESL-English as a Second Language) setting. However, in
this book, a more international perspective (in EFL-English as a
Foreign Language contexts) is studied, with examples from Sweden,
Spain, Hong Kong, Hungary, Basque County, Israel, and Brazil. In the
following, references to the countries covered will be made before
explaining each chapter.

SUMMARY

In chapter 1, the editor of the book, Enric Llurda, provides an overview
of the topics covered in the book and of the contributing authors. He
specifically emphasizes that although non-native researchers are the
ones who are greatly involved with NNS issues, there are many native
speakers who are involved in the study of NNS issues as well. The
native-speaker authors in this volume are an example of this.

In chapter 2, Braine sets the historical background of the non-native
English speaking professionals' movement and the establishment of
the Non-native English Speaker's Caucus in the TESOL organization
in 1999 (http://nnest.moussu.net). Braine then examines the recent
studies on NNS English teachers. Objectives, methodologies, and
findings of the following studies are described: Reves & Medges
(1994), Samimy & Brutt-Griffler (1999), Inbar-Lourie (2001), Llurda &
Huguet (2003), Moussou (2002), Liang (2002), Cheung (2002), and
Mahboob (2003). Five out of eight studies discussed are either
unpublished master's theses or doctoral dissertations. These studies
focus on self-perceptions of NNS teachers and/or students'
perceptions of NNS English teachers.

SWEDEN: In Chapter 3, Modiano talks about how different ELT
(English Language Teaching) programs and practices can help
people throughout the world to learn the English language as a lingua
franca. Then, Modiano provides the example of the country of
Sweden and how for so long it was under the influence and
domination of the British, where the educational materials portrayed
the British lifestyle. Modiano suggests a cultural studies platform which
promotes the development of non-native speaker identities rather than
the development of the native speaker supremacy.

In chapter 4, Cook discusses the L2 (second language) user concept
and the multicompetence view of second language acquisition,
treating the mind of the L2 user as a whole rather than as having a
separate L1 (first language) and interlanguage components (meaning
having two languages present in the same mind). The important
argument throughout the chapter is to make students successful L2
users rather than the 'desired' native speakers.

In chapter 5, Macaro talks about codeswitching and argues that a
teacher's codeswitching in class is not as negative as it seems.
Macaro states it is the dominant culture's idea that codeswitching is a
bad practice in the ELT classroom. He also explains how L2 users can
benefit from their bilingual teachers' codeswitching in language
classrooms.

CATALONIA (SPAIN): In chapter 6, Cots & Diaz focus on NNS EFL
teachers' talk in the construction of social relationships and linguistic
knowledge in the classroom. The participants in the study were EFL
teachers (6 different teachers with different genders and different
teaching levels) in Catalonia. One of the findings was that teacher talk
moves between a discourse of power and a discourse of solidarity.
The linguistic knowledge was distinguished between categorical and
non-categorical knowledge and explained in details.

HONG-KONG: In chapter 7, McNeill focuses on NS and NNS teachers'
sensitivity to language difficulty from a learner's perspective. In order
to test this, McNeill included four groups (1 group expert NNS, 1
novice NNS teachers, 1 expert NS, and 1 novice NS teachers) of
English teachers and 200 Cantonese-speaking secondary school
students in Hong Kong in his study. The teachers were asked to
make predictions about difficult vocabulary in a reading text and
explain their decisions. The students were tested on the
understanding of the lexical content. Then, the teachers' guesses
were compared with students' answers. The study revealed that NNS
teachers, as a group, were more successful in making predictions
about students and their vocabulary difficulties in reading text for
various reasons.

U.S.A & CANADA: In chapter 8, Llurda looked into the issues of
TESOL practicum supervisors (in North America) and their
experiences in observing the skills and performances of both NNS and
NS student teachers during the practicum process. The supervisors
from different universities were surveyed was asked both closed and
open-ended questions.

U.S.A.: In chapter 9, Lui did a study about NNS of English Chinese
graduate teaching assistants (CGTAs) teaching freshman composition
to NS in the U.S. The teaching experiences of the CGTAs and their
students' attitudes and teacher evaluations are provided. Challenges
and celebrations of being a CGTA are also provided by different
narrative examples.

CANADA: In chapter 10, Derwing & Munro examined the adult ESL
teacher training programs in two Canadian Cities: Vancouver and
Edmonton. The chapter also provided some information about the
practicum requirements in different TESOL programs in these cities.
When ESL students were asked about NS and NNS teachers they
explained strengths and weaknesses of both groups.

HUNGARY: In chapter 11, Benke & Medgyes did a study in Hungary
where 422 NNS English language learners (intermediate level of
English proficiency) who were secondary school, college/university, or
private language school students, filled out a survey about their
perceptions of the differences between NS and NNS teachers.
Advantages and disadvantages were found for both teachers such as;
NNS would often give a lot of homework, plan lessons thoroughly and
consistently check for errors. They were also found to be good at
teaching grammar. On the other hand, NS teachers would focus on
speaking skills and would provide extensive information about their
own culture.

BASQUE COUNTRY: In chapter 12, Lasagabaster & Sierra's study
wanted to examine if students preferred NS over to NNS as teachers
in general, or vice versa. Also examined were what skills of NS or NNS
teachers they preferred and if the preference changed according to
the age/grade level of the learners (common notion: the earlier the
better (primary education), therefore NS exposure at that level will be
helpful). Seventy six university students in different Philology or
Language Education programs participated in the study. 60.6%
preferred the NS teacher; however 71.6% preferred to have both NS
and NNS teachers. One interesting result was participants' preferred
NS teacher at the university level not the primary education level.

ENGLAND: In Chapter 13, Pacek did a study at a British university
with two different groups of students; one group enrolled in free
vocabulary classes on campus (open to everyone) and the other
group enrolled in a program specifically for Japanese secondary
school teachers of English funded by the Japanese Ministry of
Education for 11 months. The focus was to compare students'
comments on most/least important characteristics of the foreign
language teacher (first questionnaire) and students' initial reactions of
having a NNS teacher. Each group was taught by the same NNS
instructor. The results of the study differed for each group. Cultural
and educational background played an important role in their
perceptions; for example, the Japanese teachers had better insights
compared to the other group when reflecting on having a NNS teacher.

ISRAEL: In Chapter 14, Inbar-Lourie examines the identity of the NNS
teacher, both perceived and self-identified in the context of Israel. In
order to investigate this she surveyed 102 EFL teachers in the Israeli
school system. The EFL teachers were from 17 different countries;
some were NS of English and some NNS. A self reported
questionnaire was given to the EFL teachers about how they
perceived themselves and how others perceived them. Their students
were also asked how they perceived their NS/NNS teachers.
According to the results of the study, a gap was found between self
and perceived identity of EFL teachers. NNS teachers were perceived
as NS by NNS and their students. On the other hand, NS were
perceived as NS.

BRAZIL: In Chapter 15, Rajagopalan takes a critical pedagogy stand
and talks about how NNSTs became marginalized. He then talks
about the action plan that leads to empowerment of NNS. A change
will not happen overnight, but it will happen. He discusses some of the
challenges specifically experienced by EFL NNS teachers that ESL
NNS teachers do not experience. He also shares the project he is
involved with in Brazil to empower a group of EFL teachers to
overcome the lack of self-confidence they may have which is quite
common among EFL NNS teachers.

CRITICAL EVALUATION

As can be read above, this book covers a great variety of topics
related to the NS/NNS teacher's issues from different places around
the world. The editor and the contributors of the book have done an
excellent job presenting the topic. Although people interested in either
ESL/EFL education or NS/NNS teachers may use the book, the topics
studied are common and appealing to all language learners in
general. The book shares not only examples of the challenges NNS
teachers face, but celebrations too. In EFL settings evidence is
provided by students' input; often NS teachers are preferred over
NNS teachers, however there are examples of how NNS teachers can
be helpful to language learners in a way NS cannot (see chapter 7 for
details). The authors also show evidence for 'linguistic imperialism'
(see chapter 3 for details: through educational materials, media,
computers; the use of world literature translated into English over the
Anglo vision promoted traditional English and American literature is
suggested). Even in codeswitching scenario, codeswitching has
always been portrayed as a negative behavior in EFL classroom
settings (see chapter 5 for details) due to trying to establish native
speaker dominance in every way. All the authors in the book take a
critical position in discussing the native speaker supremacy and then
directly or indirectly provide a message to take an
against 'Monopolized English' domination by 'World English'.

REFERENCES

Braine, G. (Ed.). (1999). Non-native educators in English language
teaching. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Cheung, Y.L. (2002). The attitude of university students in Hong
Kong towards native and non-native teachers of English. Unpublished
M. Phil. thesis. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Inbar-Lourie, O. (1999). The native speaker construct: Investigation by
perceptions. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Tel-Aviv University,
Tel Aviv, Israel.

Kamhi-Stein, L. D. (Ed.) (2004). Learning and teaching from
experience: perspectives on nonnative English-speaking
professionals. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Liang, K. Y. (2002). English as a second language (ESL) students'
attitudes toward non-native English-speaking teachers' accentedness.
Unpublished master's thesis. California State University, Los Angeles,
CA.

Llurda, E. & A. Huguet (2003) Self-awareness in NNS EFL primary
and se condary school teachers. Language Awareness, 12, 220-235.

Mahboob, A. (2003). Status of non-native English speaking teachers
in the United States. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Indiana
University, Bloomington, IN.

Moussu, L. (2002). English as a second language students' reactions
to non-native English-speaking teachers. Unpublished master's thesis.
Brigham Young University at Provo, UT.

Reves, T., & Medgyes, P. (1994). The non-native English speaking
ESL/EFL teacher's self-image: An international survey. System, 22(3),
353-367.

Samimy, K., & Brutt-Griffler, J. (1999). To be a native or non-native
speaker: Perceptions of 'non-native' students in graduate TESOL
program. In G. Braine (Ed.), Non-native educators in English
language teaching. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 127-144.
 
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER


Burcu Ates is a doctoral student at the Department of Teaching,
Learning, & Culture (specializing in ESL Education), Texas A&M
University, College Station. She teaches ESL methodology and
assessment courses to preservice teachers as a Teaching Assistant.
Her current research focuses on NS/NNS issues. She is especially
interested in empowerment of NNS teacher educators.


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