Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The ESL Teacher: Native or Non-Native

The ESL Teacher as a Non-Native Speaker of  English
Thus far, research has not resolved the native/ non-native dichotomy in relation to ESL/ EFL teaching. However, there is substantial amount of literature written on the strengths of teachers who are non-native speakers of the target language. Commenting on native/ non-native dimension in a monolingual ELT setting,  Medgyes (1992) point out six assets of being non-native. They are as follows:
a)      Only non-NESTs (non-native-speaking EFL teachers) can serve as imitable models of the successful learner of English.
b)      Non-NESTs can teach learning strategies more effectively.
c)      Non-NESTs can provide learners with more information about the English language.
d)     Non-NESTs are more able to anticipate language difficulties.
e)      Non-NESTs can be more empathetic to the needs and problems of their learners.
f)       Only non-NESTs can benefit from sharing the learner’s mother tongue. (pp. 346-347)

According to Phillipson (1992),
     it is arguable,…that non-native teachers may, in fact, be better qualified than native 
 speakers, if they have gone through the complex process of acquiring English as a second or foreign language, have insight into the linguistic and cultural needs of their learners, a detailed awareness of how mother tongue and target language differ and what is difficult for learners, and first-hand experience of using a second or foreign language. (p. 15)

Speaking on the pedagogical and linguistic abilities non-native English speakers bring in to the English teaching profession, Canagarajah (1999) states, “language teaching is an art, a science, and a skill that requires complex pedagogical preparation and practice. Therefore, not all speakers may make good teachers of their first language. (p. 80)

Thus, it's important that ESL teachers who are non-native speakers of English make good use of their own invaluable experiences in educating their students.


Canagarajah, A. S. (1999). Interrogating the "Native speaker fallacy": Non-linguistic roots, non-pedagogical results. In: Braine, G. (Ed.). Non-native educators in English language teaching. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 77-92.

Phillipson. (1992). ELT. The native speaker’s burden. English Language Teaching Journal, 46(1), 12-18
Medgyes, P. (1992). Native or Non-native: Who’s worth more?. English Language Teaching Journal, 46(4), 340-349.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Computer as a teaching/ learning tool

 Computer as a teaching/ learning tool
Although at first it might sound daunting to teach students ESL writing using computers, it apparently is an effective way if used wisely.
Let's take a moment to see what computer assisted teaching is.
A word processor
 A word processor is the modern version of paper, pen, typewriter, eraser, dictionary and thesaurus… all in one.

Some examples of word processing programs include Microsoft Word, Word Perfect (Windows only), Apple Works (Mac only), and Open
 Effect on Writing Process 
1.Planning - smart art graphic tool as an outliner
2. Drafting / composing- text editor tool– note-taking - annotation-devices
3. Revising - Post writing tools – spell checker, dictionary look up, grammar checker 
  1. Text Editor 
A type of program used for editing text files. As with word processors, text editors will provide a way to
undo and redo the last edit
text formatting
copy, paste, cut,
automatic tabulation
replacing text automatically
 Theoretical Background
Drawing on interactionist Second Language Acquisition theory and computer-assisted language learning (CALL) research, Chapelle (1999) suggests that types of interactions in CALL may be beneficial for language development if they focus learners’ attention on input form, and allow self-correction.
Noticing hypothesis -Schmidt (1990)
Noticing hypothesis claims that conscious awareness (noticing) of grammar plays an important role in the L2 acquisition process. According to empirical research CALL has supported this hypothesis.
 Zone of Proximal Development Vygotsky- 1978
 It is defined as the zone between what students can already accomplish on their own and what they can accomplish with appropriate help.
-The implementation of this concept in terms of computer-assisted writing instruction, is the help that computers provide to students in learning and carrying out the writing process. 
 Advantageous and Disadvantageous of CAI (computer assisted instructions)

Teacher - Benefits
Easy to read, easy to edit, can easily get the error statistics, time saving
Student - Benefits
Writing becomes Interesting & enjoyable, reduces writing anxiety, easy to revise, gives high text quality. 
Teacher - drawbacks
 Reduces communication between students and teacher
Student - drawbacks
Anxiety to use the software
Limited typing/word processing abilities
Focus on surface feature of texts