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Articles: Native vs No-Native Facebook RhetoricI am a non-native speaker who has lived in the United Kingdom (UK) for the last 20 years, I am currently on a lot of Facebook TEFL groups especially groups with "for teachers who work around the world" indicating that they are supportive of all countries and teachers. I have been working as a teacher in many different Asian countries. I have noticed that a lot of these groups are adding comments that in my opinion are condescending with no respect for the governmental policies in Asian countries, and coming across as western elitism and hiding behind the European Union (EU) policy (Article 21 of EU basic rights) and think they are being proactive in highlighting the discriminatory terms in adverts, especially ones that are asking for teachers in Asian countries. An example of one such comment which I could not respond to because the TEFL group turned off the comments was:


“We understand that it is normal to advertise for teachers with particular passports in certain parts of the world.

However, we strongly disapprove as it is blatantly discriminatory and based on the illogical premise that only people who hold passports from those countries can make good teachers.

We also understand that your ad doesn't specify Native Speaker and yet it is similarly discriminatory.

Kindly pass that message on, please.

The more we say it, the more likely people are to begin to understand and change this way of thinking.

Thank you.

(member of the admin team)”


I can fully understand such a comment on adverts from an EU advertiser, but I do not understand why these groups are NOT respecting governmental policies from Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, Singapore and China to name a few. In these Asian countries and others, the government will not supply a teaching visa to non-native speakers hence a lot of adverts ask for Native speakers only. In my opinion, they are right to do so. They then are not inundated with candidates from non-native counties, which is a waste of the candidate's time and the recruiters /schools.


There is nothing worse than sending a CV to a recruiter/school going through the procedures and get an email from them saying that the successful candidate was chosen due to their experience or qualifications. You know deep down that it was because you are either a non-speaker, aged over 55, male, female, black, white, British not American, have an accent, which is all discriminatory is one way or another. That said, does not a recruiter/schools have a right to ask for what they want to fit within their countries governmental or cultural policies, most schools are privately owned and run as a business. If parents are culturally inhibited and will pull their child if a school employs a "sarcasm" (female, under 30, white, American with no accent) it is really their choice.


I am non-native and lived and studied at university in the UK for 20 years and truly used the English language. I have had a deep integration into society with an understanding of the cultural background. I know my vocabulary is nowhere near the native speakers level, but more than good enough to teach on at lower level teaching and exam English. My students who want to understand English on in-depth level, then a mother tongue language speaker will always be the better option, which is the same for any language like Spanish, French, German, Russian to name a few.


If a non-native speaker who has learnt the English language outside of a native country and thinks they have an in-depth knowledge of the English language at the same level as a native speaker and support such rhetoric as the Facebook comment above. It truly shows they have little respect for other cultures, policies or even the English language. I know that it is frustrating for us non-natives to see these types of adverts. Let's be honest we may have a good education, we may have an in-depth knowledge of culture and know the nuances, idioms and phrasing of a native country, we may even speak without an accent, but that is another topic. I also know that some teaching jobs is really a babysitting job, so anyone with a minuscule of English can do the job. We will never be able to match a native speaker, we should just accept the fact that some counties will want any person other than a non-native, rightly or wrongly. The perception is that native speakers will be better placed to teach than non-native.



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