I have asked before

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MTE1369
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I have asked before

Unread post by MTE1369 » 02 Jun 2020, 19:40

Why do so many people "pose" and post online as "Native Speakers" when a simple name search or check of their social media profiles clearly indicates that they are in fact not?.... Spare me the racist accusations, Your Social Media Presence is generally in your first (native} language.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by LeoYusuf » 03 Jun 2020, 12:21

Don't blame the posers; blame the system.

Native speakers are often given priority over non-natives when evaluating for teaching positions. Why? Because the belief is that they will be inherently better at teaching in their native language.

Experience has taught me otherwise. What is far more important in a teacher is empathy with the students, the ability to communicate clearly and consistently, and having a firm grasp of teaching methods and techniques. Being a native speaker is far from a guarantee that these other capabilities will be present.

Rather the opposite: We have all had the displeasure of working with native speakers who feel they can simply coast on their accent and native knowledge without doing the necessary work of developing cogent and relevant lesson plans, finding imaginative ways of reaching the students, or learning new methods and techniques. And why should they? The schools who hire them assume they'll be "good enough" simply by dint of their birthplace and circumstance.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by MTE1369 » 03 Jun 2020, 18:13

Not BLAMING anyone, just asking the question.

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John V55
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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by John V55 » 03 Jun 2020, 19:14

Here’s your answer. If I’m English living in Germany, I’m not going to pay a Canadian living in France to teach me Russian. In other words, no matter how well you can speak a language, if it’s not your native tongue you’ll never quite grasp the grammar aspect of it. The local teachers will often teach out of textbooks, but as a native speaker you’re often required to do the grammar.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 14 Jun 2020, 05:04

John V55 wrote:
03 Jun 2020, 19:14
In other words, no matter how well you can speak a language, if it’s not your native tongue you’ll never quite grasp the grammar aspect of it.
Typically (in my experience) non-native speakers of English have a better grasp of English grammar rules than native speakers.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by John V55 » 14 Jun 2020, 19:29

TheNightBeak wrote:
14 Jun 2020, 05:04
John V55 wrote:
03 Jun 2020, 19:14
In other words, no matter how well you can speak a language, if it’s not your native tongue you’ll never quite grasp the grammar aspect of it.
Typically (in my experience) non-native speakers of English have a better grasp of English grammar rules than native speakers.
You’re not serious, are you? :) Is that why the majority of recruiting agencies and foreign English departments ask specifically for NES?

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 14 Jun 2020, 19:55

John V55 wrote:
14 Jun 2020, 19:29
TheNightBeak wrote:
14 Jun 2020, 05:04
John V55 wrote:
03 Jun 2020, 19:14
In other words, no matter how well you can speak a language, if it’s not your native tongue you’ll never quite grasp the grammar aspect of it.
Typically (in my experience) non-native speakers of English have a better grasp of English grammar rules than native speakers.
You’re not serious, are you? :) Is that why the majority of recruiting agencies and foreign English departments ask specifically for NES?
Well, they sometimes ask for non-native English speakers because they can get away with paying them less, to answer your question. But that's not really what I was getting at.

Non-native teachers were once students of the English language - in fact they still are. Students of the English language learn the grammar. We native speakers don't - we just acquire it. Consequently the non-native speakers have an easier time explaining the grammar to students. And they can relate to them, relate to their situation more than we can. We just get annoyed with them :)

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by John V55 » 15 Jun 2020, 21:23

Private schools do sometimes ask for non-native teachers, as you rightly point out for financial reasons, but they do English conversation, not grammar. Grammar, like culture, is something you’re born into which is why recruiters almost always ask for NES.

Grammar can certainly be explained, but its perfect use can’t be replicated. In the East which is the main recruiting area for TEFL, non-NES don’t get anywhere near the state schools for that very reason.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 15 Jun 2020, 22:09

John V55 wrote:
15 Jun 2020, 21:23
Private schools do sometimes ask for non-native teachers, as you rightly point out for financial reasons, but they do English conversation, not grammar. Grammar, like culture, is something you’re born into which is why recruiters almost always ask for NES.
Not sure what you're saying there. What are non-native speakers asked to do - grammar or conversation? and where are you?

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 15 Jun 2020, 22:35

Do you think you could explain this?
John V55 wrote:
15 Jun 2020, 21:23
Grammar, like culture, is something you’re born into

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by John V55 » 16 Jun 2020, 15:49

Don’t you know, or are you testing me? Culture and language are learned, but it’s a myth that they can be unlearned or discarded and replaced by something else, or nothing at all. Call it roots, or belonging, but a citizen of the world doesn’t exist. Playing around with culture and equality is a recent passing western phenomenon.

Society precedes the individual? Socially engineering a society has never worked; whether it tried to produce the ideal Soviet man, or the perfect Aryan one, or currently, one who I refer to elsewhere as, ‘I believe in nothing and am tolerant of everything’. We are what we are.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 16 Jun 2020, 20:26

We're talking about teaching English here.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 16 Jun 2020, 20:27

John V55 wrote:
03 Jun 2020, 19:14
no matter how well you can speak a language, if it’s not your native tongue you’ll never quite grasp the grammar aspect of it.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by John V55 » 16 Jun 2020, 22:31

Grammar is part of language and language is a part of culture. Go and figure it out for yourself. :)

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 16 Jun 2020, 22:58

I see you're backing off from your original pronouncement.

I think that's probably wise.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by John V55 » 17 Jun 2020, 13:31

It’s not a question of backing off. I have a sixth sense that tells me someone who claims to be a teacher trainer, but in their experience non-native English speakers have a better grasp of language than a native isn’t going to make much sense in the future either. I’ve just spent a decade in the East and I know nonsense when I hear it. Have a nice day and all that. :)

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 17 Jun 2020, 13:36

One more time for the hard-of-reading:
TheNightBeak wrote:
14 Jun 2020, 19:55
Non-native teachers were once students of the English language - in fact they still are. Students of the English language learn the grammar. We native speakers don't - we just acquire it. Consequently the non-native speakers have an easier time explaining the grammar to students. And they can relate to them, relate to their situation more than we can.

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NESTs and grammar

Unread post by kdammers » 19 Jun 2020, 02:43

Speaking just for myself, a native speaker of English:

In high school in Illinois in the fifties/sixties, I learned English grammar. This included, but was not limited to, learning the parts of speech and diagramming sentences. In addition, I like every-one else in my school, took a foreign language or Latin. In my German classes, we also had grammar.
My TESL courses had grammar, as did my MAE-ESL program. Furthermore, I have had a number of linguistics courses, most of which dealt with grammar -- often on a level much more arcane than any NNEST got in school or university English, I am sure.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by TheNightBeak » 19 Jun 2020, 17:03

My point was really that we don't SEE the grammar of our own native language the way that students of our language do. We acquire the language first, and THEN we might look at terms such as 'noun' and 'preposition'. That's by no means necessary and it's by no means typical, however - many Brits I've talked to had no basic grounding in the rules of English grammar (however Czechs, for instance, have grammar tables hammered into them from an early age).

A student of the English language usually learns the rules of grammar at the same time as they learn pronunciation and vocabulary. It's a fundamental part of most EFL courses and it starts on day one. This naturally puts these people in a much stronger position than native speakers when it comes to TEACHING it, for the reasons I outlined above.

There are very compelling arguments to be made about the innate advantages non-native speakers of English have over native speakers when it comes to teaching. These ideas are actually pretty standard in the industry these days - if you're interested, you'll find a lot of articles online covering this theme. If you carry on mindlessly flying the flag for the superiority of native speakers as TEFLers in 2020 then you'll face some pretty strong objections from an increasing number of 'foreigners' doing the job.

To be completely honest I'm kind of torn on this one - I'd certainly prefer to be taught Spanish by someone born and bred in Madrid, for example, for reasons that I think are probably obvious. But natives are notoriously poor at explaining rules ('it just IS!') which students generally are hungry for. And they're unable to translate the more difficult aspects into your own language, which sometimes can be really helpful.

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Re: I have asked before

Unread post by kdammers » 19 Jun 2020, 18:08

The English grammar that non-natives are often taught is rarely based on good linguistics. It includes a jumble of Latin-based rules, transferences from other languages (especially those of the instructor), mis-understood takes on English, over-generalizations, forced differentiations, and various partially correct statements from EFL textbooks.

On the other hand, in terms of learning certain grammar points, the NNEST does have the advantage of often having had trod the same path.

I don't know if TheNightBeak was addressing me with" If you carry on mindlessly flying the flag for the superiority of native speakers as TEFLers," but the comment is strange if so. All I did in my previous post was point out that I, as a NEST, had had a lot of grammar. My only reference to non-natives was to say that I had had exposure to arcane material that I don't believe (based on years of contact with NNESTs) have been familiar with. Also "carry on" implies persistence - but this was my first post. Also, "mindlessly" is not supported in this context.

Finally, TheNightBeak ends up saying that s/he would prefer a native Spanish speaker "for reasons [ungiven] that . . . are perfectly obvious." Are these reasons unrelated to learning grammar? If not, what are they, and why don't they negate the alleged superior ability of NNETs to explain grammar rules.

But if you want my actual view, it is that the native/non-native distinction is not very important in most cases. It is the quality of the individual teacher as a teacher and as some-one with the adequate level of English for a particular teaching task.

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