ARE NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS THE BEST ENGLISH TEACHERS?
As the world becomes more globalized, English becomes widely spread too. This explains the reason for the emerging world Englishes which exhibit variations from the native English. Fussell claims that “no matter where you are in the world, English seems to have its own way of cropping up” (26). This claim is reaffirmed by Kachru (3) who argues that English has become the language of those who are using it. As such, it is explicit that it takes distinct identity in different regions. However, the functions of English and its usage among native-English speakers and non-English speakers seem to be raising unprecedented controversies. One of these controversies surrounding English is the question of who teaches better. Is it native speakers or non-native speakers? Graddol points out that “as English proficiency becomes more widespread, so do potential sources of teachers” (115). Therefore, this argumentative essay seeks to answer this question by arguing that native English speakers are the best English teachers.
The first argument that supports opinion of native English speakers to be the best teachers centers on perfection. It is obvious that perfection in any task is underpinned by experience and in-depth understanding of the task you are executing. In this context, teachers endeavor to give the best to their learners for their success. Therefore, perfection in English teaching emerges as a key requirement for effective teaching, and this quality forms part of English teaching competence among native English teachers. This line of thinking is supported by language experts who argue that native speakers of English know their language naturally, faultlessly and perfectly (Gill and Rebrova 6).
The second reason why native English speakers emerge as the best English teachers is that they are socio-linguistically competent. Having been brought up in the community’s cultural background, native English teachers possess the ability to use speech appropriately in diverse contexts. From a critical perspective, native English speakers acquire English language skills from their social background. For instance, they learn communication strategies and rules which enhance their competencies in teaching English. Therefore, it is apparent that sociolinguistic competence is an essential element of language teaching. This is why world Englishes are characterized by the social contexts of those who use them. Fussell gives evidence to this phenomenon in the Gulf region where he claims “English has attained its own distinctive features” (26). In other words, claims that English has attained a local flavor within the Gulf region, giving it a distinct taste from native English. This aspect comes clear from David Crystal’s interview by Tony O'Brien, a British Council director in Western Balkan who reaffirms that English language develops under the social context and cites example with the development of American English. Overall, social context underpins language development; thus, it is imperative that those who share the respective social background exhibit competence from second language learners. This is the case with native English-speaking teachers; they understand their language so well compared their non-native English-speaking counterparts.
Other the hand, non-native English-speaking English teachers exhibit deficiencies in the cultural context. It is apparent that the choice of language matches interactions in the social context. This is so because every culture across the globe exhibit diverse views on the world. As such, a non-native English-speaking teacher may experience difficulties in teaching a topic he or she is ignorant about. This phenomenon is what Medgyes defines as referential appropriateness; the correlation between linguistic form and outcomes in the outside world (345). Therefore, it is obvious that the pragmatic failures which are observed among non-native English-speaking teachers are attributable to the underlying deficiencies in the social context. However, Kachru seems to create controversy in the issue of pragmatic success between native English-speaking teachers and non-native English-speaking teachers. He sees no difference. This is why he claims that “the traditional dichotomy between native and nonnative is functionally uninsightful and linguistically questionable” (3).