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Native and non native speaker teachers

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by doha, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. doha

    doha New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I'm interested in researching this controversial topic: native/non native speaker teachers and I would like to hear your thoughts if you have a minute. What do you think Native or/and non native speaker teachers bring to the table in the MFL department? Do you think that it's good to have both in a department? Have you experienced any clash/disagreement? Do you support each others or "fear" each others? What do you think are the strengths/weaknesses of each others?
    How do you feel when you have to compete against each others in a job interview?

    Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts! I am an English national teaching Spanish by the way...
     
  2. doha

    doha New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I'm interested in researching this controversial topic: native/non native speaker teachers and I would like to hear your thoughts if you have a minute. What do you think Native or/and non native speaker teachers bring to the table in the MFL department? Do you think that it's good to have both in a department? Have you experienced any clash/disagreement? Do you support each others or "fear" each others? What do you think are the strengths/weaknesses of each others?
    How do you feel when you have to compete against each others in a job interview?

    Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts! I am an English national teaching Spanish by the way...
     
  3. slick

    slick New commenter

    Positives about native speakers.....
    a) Excellent accent/ pronunciation/ up to date vocabulary (for those that learned the MFL when computers were not around.... and new vocabulary has come on board)
    b) Great for trips..... another speaker in case of trouble abroad
    c) Excellent cultural knowledge
    d) Usually very anglophile or they would not wish to live here
    e) Regarding French in particular, have high expectations as the education system in France can be less forgiving
    However, some native speakers (as UK MFL teachers) have poor grammatical knowledge as they have not learned their own language broken down. Moreover some fail to perceive the difficulty that certain aspects of grammar can pose (but that is the same for all MFL teachers). If the level of English is not great (as we have had with some PGCSE teachers for example), the students can be harsh and the teacher can struggle (but similalrly some students are captivated by the strong French accent for example...)
    My own experience of native speakers has been wholly positive and I weclome the best colleague to teach the students (and that is not necessarily the native or non-native speaker).
     
  4. Native speakers who are British trained- ie with PGCE and who have a committment to stay in the UK-ie generally a partner or family- yes, but those who work in the UK just for the experience are not always so successful in the job I have observed.
     
  5. My experience is that teachers from abroad, even those who have made this country their home, are not welcome in most MFL departments. I have always wondered why but it is common knowledge that most MFL heads do prefer a good English graduate to one who has studied his/ her degree abroad. Even though he/ she can bring so much into the classroom and the school as a whole. I am glad you have brought up this "hidden" issue. It is scandalous that if you are a foreigner you are treated as a less able teacher. As my French friend Laure says, foreign teachers get the jobs that the English don't want. I am in the NW of England and that has been my experience here. By the way, I am a British MFL teacher with 15 years experience.
     
  6. derekdalek

    derekdalek New commenter

    Thats a shame. I'm British and teach French and Spanish. I have worked in a total of 4 secondaries and never found that native speakers weren't/aren't welcome.
    Personally, I like to work with people who are nice and supportive, whatever their nationality. Im fortunate that my school is full of nice colleagues and nice kids and thats why I keep working there. (I live in the south-east so there are a few jobs going most of the time, I know thats not always the case in other parts of the UK).
    I hope this isnt a thread that will generate negative comments about anyone. There are so many attacks in the press on teachers nowadays, I'd like to think this forum is a place to find some solidarity. [​IMG]
     
  7. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Not my experience in Scotland!
     
  8. doha

    doha New commenter

    Thank you so much for all your feedback. Keep them coming please! Personnaly, i've noticed that native speakers are often more treated as FLA in a department than as another teacher..
    Also is there anyone here who is HOD and native speaker?
    As a non native I do sometimes fear to speak to my native colleagues in target language but really it should not be the case as they should help us as we sometimes help them with their english for reports for example...
     
  9. doha

    doha New commenter

    by the way, I do not want any negative/racist comments here! Just some constructive feedback on what people experience. Both native and non native have so much to bring to the table and I think that every MFL department should try to accommodate both!
     
  10. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Again,England must be very different from Scotland. How very strange.
     
  11. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    Some of the best teachers I've ever met have been native speakers and I can also think of a few outstanding HoDs who are Native speakers, too.
    There are good teachers and there are bad teachers, I don't think nationality is a factor to be honest.
     
    claugraf likes this.
  12. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    I think willingness to take on the British education system and accept it and to teach within it is what counts.
    I have met Native Speaker teachers who have failed dismally because they expect things to be taught in the same way as they were taught, and who have not accepted that British teenagers in mainstream schools will respond less than positively to having someone else's culture and expectations thrust upon them.
    A few years ago I worked with a Mauritian who could not cope with being asked questions about the work, with students who wanted their lessons to be more than copying out of a book and who did not respect them blindly just because they were the teacher.
     
  13. I was taught by one of each for German throughout school and there were benefits of having the mixture. The native speaker obviously has the edge with accent/pronunciation/cultural knowledge and general all-round authenticity! But I found that my non-native teacher was infinitely better at teaching grammar as she'd had to learn it at some point too.


    Another trainee on my course is a native speaker and he also struggles a little more than me with teaching grammar and being able to explain it in the correct way. I acknowledge that I'm not there with teaching grammar yet(!) but I do have the memories of how I was taught to help me along the way.
     
  14. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Yes but native speakers can learn those techniques too! So even though I wasn't familiar with Mrs Vandertramp, for instance, I'd come across it by the end of my year as an assistant, even before I started my PGCE. And textbooks are usually good at explaining these anyway, so any good teacher will look it up in a grammar section designed for English students and then explain it in their own way.
    Again, I have found that some colleagues' grasp of grammar is actually not as reliable as mine (i.e. full of mistakes!), and as a native speaker I did have to "learn" the grammar in countless grammar lessons at school.
     
  15. Who/what is Mrs Vandertramp? Is she like the "fanboys" (used here in Germany to help children memorise coordinating conjunctions)?
    Most textbooks are. And an awful lot of non-native speaker teachers are not. Number one on my hitlist for failed grammar explanations: "I don't have to explain this - it's logical!" when teaching the children the pretérito perfecto. They didn't even get it was a verb form....


     
  16. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    the mnemonic used by French teachers to teach the 13 intransitive verbs of motion which are conjugated with être in the passé composé instead of the normal avoir construction.
     
  17. Great! I love things like that. Unfortunately, German French teachers don't know Mrs Vandertramp....
     
  18. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Neither do French French teachers,until we start teaching in UK schools!
     
  19. I would just like to point out, as a Portuguese national, that whether someone learns grammar thoroughly depends greatly on the country of origin. Having spent my school years in Portugal, I can safely say that pupils there learn Portuguese grammar, including some Latin when appropriate to understand the origin of the word or rule to a depth that frankly can be seen as unnecessary and pedantic (god, the nightmares). I would not be surprised if other Mediterranean countries did the same. (though Portugal isn't strictly Mediterranean itself). In fact, I was always surprised with how little grammar English pupils learn in school, all the while wishing I had been so lucky.


    (p.s.- I really dislike grammar and how it found a way of embedding itself in my brain!)
     
  20. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    I had never heard of Mrs Vandertramp until I started teaching. I don't think it had been invented when I was at school.
     

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