TEFL for non- native English speaking teachers. (From own experience as a volunteer
(From own experience as a volunteer English and French teacher, different forums and talks with other native and non-native teachers)
All over the world more and more EFL schools advertise their courses highlighting that they only employ native speakers and reject applicants on the ground that it is the customers' expectation, opening the gates wide for native teachers and giving more obstacles to non-native ones (until they find themselves in a desperate need for a teacher'). But is it really the customers' expectation' Unfortunately teaching ability is not part of the mother tongue package! Non-native teachers could be compared with young new teachers of any subject they have just graduated: depending on their teaching ability, their skills in the subject, their personality, their relationship with students, their awareness of their real expectations, they may become better teachers than their own old masters' (or worse, as in any subject')
Like this fresh young teacher high school students can feel close to, a non-native teacher owns interesting aspects for the EFL learner as he used to be one of them: he has learnt English as a foreign language. He may be for them a real living model of succeeding in English, a great source of motivation ' important asset for beginners, elementary and low intermediate students who can see him only a few steps ahead of them. If he's done it, they can do it!... Regarding the accent, the teacher can always use his sound equipment (cassette, CDs, DVDs) to show them different kinds, the way of speaking they should aim. A non-native teacher, whatever his accent may be, is aware of it and its differences with typical British or American accents, which is sometimes lacked by some natives all over the world. Anyway if you have different native speakers reading the same text, which one will be closer to its phonemic version' Some linguists used to say that it would have been a Swedish'
As they learnt English at school, the non-native teachers had to look at and analyze the language and work out why and how it is the way it is. Before attaining fluency, a non-native speaker had to build up his mind to think in English, unlike a mother tongue that we may accept as given. Planning his lessons, a non-native teacher always has in mind his former experiences as an EFL learner, the difficulties he and his mates, reluctant or overactive, experienced, the good and bad sides of his former teachers and their methodologies. A non-native teacher is always an experienced learner.
The EFL courses are cross-cultural courses, experiences which non- native teachers had been through before, living, studying or working in an English environment (more than often, reason for his fluency). Dedicate ones are able to adapt to, retain and explain several languages and cultures starting from their own and an English one at least. Regarding school policies, the non-native teacher may have to focus only on English cultures but is able to go to a wider multicultural communication, which is the main aim of the EFL worldwide. Even if for specific courses, like short advanced British or American career orientated ones, a native teacher from the specific country may be the logical choice, on a wider basis a non- native teacher, teaching in a foreign country, isn't the successful symbol of the EFL'
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