by Dr. Khalid Al-Seghayer
Nov 3, 2011
It is our destiny as non-native English-speaking teachers (NNESTs) to face a variety of challenges with many issues, including, among others, highly required language and pedagogical competencies, proper cultural orientation, native-like accent, native-speaker fallacy, credibility, and more. The question remains: Should these challenges hold us back, or should we exploit them as opportunities to grow professionally? The suggested answers to this question are presented in the following discussion, which suggests that these challenges offer NNESTs opportunities to grow professionally and inspire them to use their non-native abilities to their advantage.
The notion of native-speaker fallacy is a common challenge for NNESTs as they are regarded as inferior to their counterparts, native English-speaking teachers (NESTs). The latter are viewed in the profession of teaching English as a second/foreign language as the only truly valid and reliable source of language data who not only have a patent on proper English but on the proper way to teach it. Such a reality can work in favor of an NNEST when he or she strives to advance professionally and prove that he or she is as good or even better than a native English speaker. This may include obtaining related advanced degrees or finding appropriate training opportunities to reach a high level of language proficiency in all of the modalities of English: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. This also helps enhance related disciplinary, pedagogical, and technological knowledge.
Another area of challenge is establishing credibility as serious, believable, and professional teachers of English to speakers of other languages. NNESTs can positively exploit the issue of credibility and earn the trust of their students through cross-cultural differences they bring to the English classrooms and by virtue of their own experiences as English language learners, training, and experience as teachers. They can combat such challenge by demonstrating that they are role models who project real images of what students can aspire to be.
A foreign or non-native-like accent is a pressing challenge because NNESTs are perceived as less qualified, less effective, and as a result, are compared unfavorably to native English-speaking teachers and portrayed as less competent. NNESTs can inform their students of the existence of varieties of English, and gradually they will appreciate having English teachers who speak with a different accent. They can also convince their prospective students a slight accent has a place in the global community. Additionally, they can think of various effective means to deliver the content, which will show that accent is not the only factor in English language teaching.
The above discussion demonstrates three significant conclusions. The professional growth of NNESTs is triggered by challenges they encounter in English language teaching. NNESTs can certainly take advantage of their uniqueness to deal effectively with such confrontations. And the challenges they face can very well be opportunities for further professional growth. After all, they ought to continue their steadfastness against all the challenges they may face in their careers.
Article source: http://eslarticle.com/pub/career-development/71924-challenges-offer-non-native-english-speaking-teachers-opportunities-to.html