In most English centres, especially the big ones with a name or with international branches around the world, non-native teachers are not even taken into consideration during recruiting phases. However, there are many fully qualified non-native ESL teachers out there that are eager to show how good they are and can’t wait to guide students through a language journey that will make them proficient learners. With this post, we don’t want to undermine native teachers, but we want to give equal opportunities to passionate teachers, whether they’re native or non-native, because we know that both categories have strengths and weaknesses.
Sometimes students come to study in Australia with certain expectations in mind. But who is Australian in a multicultural country like Australia? What makes a teacher a native speaker in Australia?
Actually, the greatest resource for an English centre is to have a combination of native and non-native teachers so that students can take advantage of their skills and improve multiple aspects of their language ability by drawing on the teachers’ differing strengths with pronunciation, grammar, idioms, cultural anecdotes, etc.
Non-native teachers are usually stronger in grammar, but most importantly, they’re able to anticipate students’ problems. They have studied the language themselves, so they completely understand the tricky bits of the language. This is why they understand what approach to use when teaching a complex topic in English because, as we know, some ways work better than others.
At the same time, native teachers will colour the learning environment with the many idioms and words used in the different parts of the world they come from. They will take students through different facts belonging to the history of English and will be there to teach students some slang expressions.
What is really important these days, especially in a city like Melbourne, is the sense of multiculturalism and cultural awareness that comes with ESL teachers that have a global experience. This is what we want in our English centre.