Enclosing native speakerism: Students’, parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of language teachers

in press
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development

The English Language Teaching (ELT) industry has long been ruled by native-speaker norms. Despite the fact that non-native speaking teachers (NNSTs) outnumber native speaking teachers (NSTs), the former are still regarded as inferior when compared to their native counterparts. Many studies have examined the NST vs. NNST debate, from students’ or teachers’ (but rarely from both) points of view. Surprisingly, parents’ standpoint has been largely ignored throughout the history of this body of research, despite their key role in their children’s education. The main goal of this paper is to explore students’, parents’ and teachers’ opinions and attitudes towards NSTs and NNSTs. The data for this study was collected from 355 secondary and high school students, 101 parents and 51 English language teachers (in total, 507 participants) through questionnaires and group discussions. Participants were asked for their native/non-native teacher preferences in four different categories: assessment and support, attitudes and motivation, culture, and linguistic abilities. Results indicate a general preference for NSTs, despite most participants acknowledging the potential of team-teaching approaches. However, it was observed that the analysis of individual items needs to be considered, as it reveals some clear-cut trends regarding NSTs’ or NNSTs’ preference by each of the three groups under scrutiny.