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IATEFL 2016 I’m a non-native English speaker teacher – hear me roar! (Dita Phillips)

Thank you for this post.
As a non- native English teacher, I am going to join this meaningful discussion.

By Marek Kiczkowiak

There are perceptions that native speakers of English make better English language teachers. Marek Kiczkowiak Opens in a new tab or window., winner of the British Council’s Teaching English blog award, argues that those perceptions need to change.Have you looked for an English teaching job recently? If you’re a Native English Speaker Teacher (NEST) then you’ll have seen an abundance of teaching opportunities out there. But for a non-native English Speaker Teacher (NNEST), it’s a different story.

Up to 70 per cent of all jobs advertised on tefl.com – the biggest job search engine for English teachers – are for NESTs (yes, I have counted). And in some countries such as Korea it’s even worse – almost all recruiters will reject any application Opens in a new tab or window. that doesn’t say English native speaker on it.

If you start questioning these practices, you are likely to hear one or all of the following excuses:

1. Students prefer NESTs
2. Students need NESTs to learn ‘good’ English
3. Students need NESTs to understand ‘the culture’
4. NESTs are better for public relations

While it is beyond the scope of this short article to fully debunk all the above, I would like to briefly outline here why these arguments are flawed.

1: The first argument gets repeated like a mantra and has become so deeply ingrained that few attempt to question its validity. Yet, I have never seen a single study that would give it even the slightest backing. On the other hand, I have seen many which confirm that students value traits Opens in a new tab or window. which have nothing to do with ‘nativeness’, such as being respectful, a good communicator, helpful, well prepared, organised, clear-voiced, and hard working. Other studies Opens in a new tab or window. show that students do not have a clear preference for either group. It seems then that it is the recruiters, not the students, who want native speakers.

2: On the second point, I believe it’s a myth Opens in a new tab or window. that only NESTs can provide a good language model. What I find troubling is that many in the profession assume language proficiency to be tantamount to being a good teacher, trivialising many other important factors such as experience, qualifications and personality. While proficiency might be a necessity – and schools should ensure that both the prospective native and non–native teachers can provide a clear and intelligible language model – proficiency by itself should not be treated as the deciding factor that makes or breaks a teacher. Successful teaching is so much more! As David Crystal put it in an interview for TEFL Equity Advocates Opens in a new tab or window.: ‘All sorts of people are fluent, but only a tiny proportion of them are sufficiently aware of the structure of the language that they know how to teach it.’ So if recruiters care about students’ progress, I suggest taking an objective and balanced view when hiring teachers, and rejecting the notion that nativeness is equal to teaching ability.

3: As for the third argument, most people will agree that language and culture are inextricably connected. But does a ‘native English speaker culture’ exist? I dare say it doesn’t. After all, English is an official language in more than 60 sovereign states. English is not owned by the English or the Americans, even if it’s convenient to think so. But as Hugh Dellar notes Opens in a new tab or window., even if we look at one country in particular, ‘there is very clearly no such thing as “British culture” in any monolithic sense’. As native speakers, we should have the humility to acknowledge that ‘no native speakers have experience, or understand all aspects of the culture to which they belong’ (David Crystal Opens in a new tab or window.).

4: Finally, the almighty and ‘untouchable’ market demand. Show me the evidence, I say. Until then, I maintain that a much better marketing strategy is to hire the best teachers, chosen carefully based on qualifications, experience and demonstrable language proficiency, rather than on their mother tongue. We are not slaves of the market. We can influence and shape it. As Henry Ford once said: ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have told me: faster horses’.

Perhaps most significant of all, being a NNEST might actually give you certain advantages as a teacher. For example, you can better anticipate students’ problems, serve as a successful learning model or understand how the learners feel. Actually, in a recent post James Taylor went as far as wishing he were a non–native speaker Opens in a new tab or window..

However, I feel that the question Peter Medgyes asks is his article Opens in a new tab or window.: ‘Native or non–native: who’s worth more?’ misses the point slightly. As Michael Griffin has shown Opens in a new tab or window., the answer is neither. Both groups can make equally good or bad teachers. It’s all down to the factors I’ve been talking about here: personal traits, qualifications, experience and demonstrable language proficiency. Your mother tongue, place of birth, sexual orientation, height, gender or skin colour are all equally irrelevant.

So why does this obsession with ‘nativeness’ refuse to go away? Because for years the English language teaching (ELT) industry told students that only NESTs could teach them ‘good’ English, that NESTs were the panacea for all their language ills. But let’s be blunt and have the courage to acknowledge that the industry encouraged a falsehood which many of us chose to turn a blind eye to while others assumed they could do nothing. I feel this needs to change.

The good news is that positive changes are already taking place. TESOL France has issued a public letter condemning the discrimination of NNESTs. Some of the most renowned ELT professionals such as Jeremy Harmer and Scott Thornbury, as well as organisations such as the British Council Teaching English team have already expressed their strong support for the TEFL Equity Advocates Opens in a new tab or window. campaign I started, which fights for equal professional opportunities for native and non–native teachers.

And you can help bring about the change too in numerous ways that were outlined here. So stand up, speak out and join the movement.

IATEFL 2016 I’m a non-native English speaker teacher – hear me roar! (Dita Phillips)

Lizzie Pinard

Dita starts by telling us what her talk is NOT about – statistics, definitions, discrimination etc.

Then she tells us about Martina who was incredulous that it was possible to be Czech and teach English in Oxford.

Dita started learning English when she was 6 years old. She did her CELTA in Czech Republic, with British and Polish tutors. It was great for the NNS to have Polish tutors but it was never discussed, which was a real missed opportunity. Would have been good to talk about teachers as role models. She was one of the first NNS teachers in the first school that hired her, as it was new for them to recruit NNS. When she got to Oxford, applying for jobs, a number of schools told her yes your qualifications and experiences are good but we don’t hire NNS but finally she did get a job at a…

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Diversity & Creativity: Two Sides of the Same Coin – e-Learning Feeds

The 2016 Hollywood movie, The Intern, starring Robert De Niro explores a novel concept of hiring retired senior citizens as corporate interns – something u

Source: Diversity & Creativity: Two Sides of the Same Coin – e-Learning Feeds

 

Personal Creative Expression

If we are to learn anything from history about human expression, we know that individuals are constantly evolving creative beings. We are always moving from one cycle of problem-solving to another. We adjust and evolve to solve the most basic problems faced on a daily basis. In other words, we diversify our ability to process information. For example, going for a walk, visiting an art gallery or applying a distantly related model to a problem can also be effective methods of diversifying creative thinking. The latter method — using a distantly related model for a business school presentation — could be utilized in many ways. A bank that wants to provide more streamlined services to customers might use the customer satisfaction benchmarks for timeliness and courtesy levels based out of a fast food restaurant. Both have little in common except for being service-oriented. Nevertheless, looking at how a fast food restaurant manages food, serves customers quickly and promotes new products can provide a wealth of inspiration for a bank.IMG_5254

TEACHING ADULTS

Group of teachers working togetherTeaching Adults
When we decide to teach adults, the awareness, as well as comprehension of whom we teach and what
we learn, is essential here.
1) Adults do not want to waste the time.Happiness Engineer Jeremey DuVall realizes he's just jumped out of an airplane.

Some adults take language courses because of a job requirement while others have their particular
goal to attain (such as a language exam or a professional interview). Adults expect direct,
practical benefit. All of them will raise the similar questions
• Why,
• What for,
• How,
• Who (is my teacher?),
• What else could I achieve instead?
• Is the time well spent?
All lessons must have a definite outcome, perhaps even a practical takeaway. It is necessary to
define specific profits at the end of the lesson and associate the benefits to the individual
learning purposes.
2) Adults are reflective learners; they think about
• what is challenging or where I require more support
• different learning strategies and self-evaluation
• maintaining a sense of responsibility for learning and achieving goals
3) Motivation is varied, and flexibility is crucial.

Teachers have to be flexible and ready for different approaches, wide-ranging content or even
unconventional paths to lead to the same goal.
Creating a context for meaningful learning is one of the tasks.
4) Mature students feel the need for direct benefit as well as valuable language skills.

Learners are looking for a solution to an exact problem at hand, immediately.
• The fundamental question is: “What should I do to get this to work?”
• Mature learners usually want to accomplish a particular task, or at least, see a noticeable
benefit for the future.
• Adults want to use language for a real-world reason.
5) The different abilities of adult learners are evident.

Child and Adult Learning Characteristics

 

  • Children
  • Rely on others to decide what is important to be learned.Accept the information being presented at face value.
    Expect what they are learning to be useful in their long-term future.
    Have little or no experience upon which to draw, are relatively “blank slates.”

  • Adults
  • Decide for themselves what is important to be learned.
    Need to validate the information based on their beliefs and values.
  • Expect what they are learning to be immediately useful.
  • Have substantial experience upon which to draw.
  • May have fixed viewpoints.
  • They may have a recognized life context that determines their learning.

The adult learners need a greater sense of cooperation between the student and
teacher as they go on through the educational process (Zmeyov, 1998). Furthermore, experienced
individuals may bring supplementary skills such as a higher level of maturity and a different
understanding of world matters and geopolitics than traditional students (Byman, 2007).

Personally, I am against using grammar boards, linguistic terms and other abstractions in language
teaching. However, if they can help the mature student why do not explain the grammar rules?

http://www.mysdcc.sdccd.edu/Staff/Instructor_Development/Content/HTML/Adu lt_Learning_Page1.htm

Video: Engaging ELs in Content Discussions in the Classroom

Check out the video at

Source: Video: Engaging ELs in Content Discussions in the Classroom

LEARNING AND TEACHING ONLINE

There are numerous definitions of online learning in the literature, definitions that reflect the diversity of practice and associated technologies. Carliner (1999) defines online learning as educational material that is presented on a computer. Khan (1997) defines online instruction as an innovative approach to delivering instruction to a remote audience, using the Web as the medium.
However, online learning involves more than just the presentation and distribution of the materials using the Web: the learner and the learning process should be the focus of online learning.
Teaching face-to-face and teaching online are both teaching, but they are qualitatively different.Online education starts when faculty move from the traditional classroom to the online classroom. There are some things that the two have in common, but there are also plenty of differences.
1. The online teacher plays the role of guiding students through one or more online learning experiences. These experiences are every so often designed and planned long before the course starts so that the teacher can devote more time to guiding the students and less time preparing lessons. Within this role, the teacher directs and redirects the attention of learners toward fundamental concepts and ideas.
2. Learning is hard work and studying online can sometimes feel isolating, confusing, or discouraging without the guide.
As a result, the effective online teacher makes intentional efforts to communicate precise encouraging messages to individual learners and the group as a whole. Moreover, even when providing constructive feedback, the teacher as supporter finds a way to promote positive messages alongside the critiques. Encouragement and welcoming support are an important approach to maintaining an overall positive morale in the class. At times, learners may fall into negative comments about themselves, the class, or their classmates (even the instructor, on occasion). The coach makes every effort to find ways to listen, respect the learner’s frustrations, but also to help them reframe the situation in a manner that students are more active and creative.
3. Many people focus on the role of the teacher as role model, and that is valuable. However, the role of the coach is just as important, even more, important if we want learners to develop high levels of competence and confidence. The online teacher must move beyond just modeling a depth motivation for the subject and personal skill with the content. The mentor needs to find ways to hand the matter over to the students to do something with it. Applied projects and papers work well for this, and it gives the teacher an opportunity to be a coach and advisor.
4. Learners need some feedback about their work. How are they doing? Are they getting closer to meeting the learning objectives or not? The effective online teacher finds ways to give thoughtful feedback to individual learners and, when appropriate, groups of students.
5. Without intentional efforts to build a positive social environment, online learning can feel lonely and impersonal. As a result, the online teacher must serve as an encouraging host, facilitating introductions, using discussion starters to enable conversations among students, and taking the time to get to know students and referencing that knowledge in interactions with them.
6. The whole thing is documented in an online course. The teacher can tell when and how many times a student logs into the course, what pages were viewed or not, how many discussions posts the student contributed, and much more. This data can be abused, but it can also be used to make adjustments and informed decisions by an online teacher. If a student is not logging in or failing to visit pages in the course with the direct instructions, the coach points that out to the learners or reorganizes the content so that it is easier to find.
7. Online courses are rich with content and sometimes students can get lost in all that content. The teacher as regulator intentionally releases content in chunks that are appropriate for students. Sometimes this comes in the form of only publishing content one week at a time. Other times, the teacher releases it all at once but directs students only to focus on individual parts at a time. Another key is to break content into smaller segments. Rather than a twenty-page document of instructions, it is better to consider breaking it into ten two-page documents.
8. Good teachers are lifelong learners, and they can model that learning for their students in a variety of ways in the online classroom. The teacher can be active (but not too active or it will silence students) participant in online discussions, sharing what they are learning about the subject, and even complete all or fragments of some assignments, sharing their work with the students. The procedure goes a long way in building an exciting and dynamic online learning community where one and all in the community commits to exemplifying the qualities of a lifelong learner.
http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/eight-roles-of-an-effective-online-teacher/

Teacher training: a waste of time?

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Source: Teacher training: a waste of time?

My New Presentation

I hope you like my thoughts.

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