To be a Native or not to be? That is the question.
Learning a language is a must in our time and I believe that English is the foreign language that should be learned first, since it has become a Lingua Franca. You can’t travel, you can’t work, you can’t even entertain yourself, if you don’t speak English.
Since it is an international language, there are a lot of people who actually speak English fluently. Some of them even decide to study the language and become teachers, although they are not Native Speakers.
And here comes the debate: Native or Non-native? Who is the better teacher?
In my opinion, teachers should not be judged by this fact.
To become a teacher of the English language, the prerequisite is that you can speak the language FLUENTLY.
Being a native speaker alone, does not make you necessarily a good teacher.
And I will tell you what I mean.
All of us non-natives have studied the language for more that 7-8 years while at school. And then we decided to become a teacher, so we went to college or University and studied four more years, literature, linguistics, methodology, pedagogics. Since we cannot work abroad with a bachelor’s degree only, we also went on to get a CELTA, a DELTA or any post-graduate degree which would give us access abroad. So, a person who wants to teach does everything possible to get qualified to do so.
A person who wants to teach English should follow all these steps. If this person is a native speaker, he/she is already fluent in the language, so they just skip the part of learning it as a foreign language. The rest of the steps are the same.
I would not agree that a Native Speaker of any language could be a teacher without studying it.
Some people will say that Native speakers have a better pronunciation, and this is true, but, in my opinion, when you learn a language, you do so in order to communicate and not to speak like a native. If you can achieve that, this is wonderful of course, but it is not the sole purpose.
So, I strongly disagree with schools that only hire native speakers, without even considering that this person has not studied to be a teacher and not give a chance to people who have dedicated their lives in learning but have the “disadvantage” of being born in another country.
All in all, I am against discrimination. There are good and bad teachers everywhere native or non-native. Everybody should get a chance.
What do you think?