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Plenary by Silvana Richardson

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This plenary talk discusses current attitudes towards 'non-native' teachers and the impact of native-speaker bias.

Speaker(s): 
Silvana Richardson

About the session

The 'native factor', the haves and the have-nots ... and why we still need to talk about this in 2016.

It is often claimed that much has changed in the field of English Language Teaching since 1983, when Peter Medgyes first described the struggle of 'non-native' teachers for visibility and due recognition. But has it? Away from academic circles, where the discourses that equated the ideal teacher with the 'native speaker' have been interrogated and critiqued, how has the situation really changed for the professional teacher of English whose first or home language is a language other than English?

In this talk I will draw on research studies, anecdotal evidence and my own and my colleagues' personal experiences to examine the state of equality and social justice in ELT with reference to the so-called 'non-native speaker teacher' thirty years on. I will look at how the logic of the market is used to justify current discriminatory recruitment practices that still perpetuate the view that a(n unqualified) native speaker is preferable to a qualified and professional 'non-native teacher'. I will reflect on the impact of the native-speaker bias and its dominance on developments in English Language teaching methodology, and how this dominance seems to have affected the emergence of context-appropriate pedagogies. Finally, I will address the 'second best' view of the 'non-native teacher' and its impact on their own construction of a legitimate professional identity and on their confidence in themselves as teachers, users and experts of an-other language.

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