What is Native Speakerism
Let’s discuss and shift our minds around native speakerism!
Results of my polls on LinkedIn and Telegram show the same preference: native speaker of English is a more desired tutor/teacher/coach.
I am deeply convinced, that every language learner wants to have the best service, the best results, feel the change in the way they communicate their thoughts, successfully go through job interviews in English, participate in meetings, go to courses or trainings or maybe even conduct those courses and trainings in English themselves, have better opportunities and higher income, up to date information and friends around the globe.
The question is – do you need a native speaker tutor/teacher/coach to reach those goals?
Ability to speak the language doesn’t equal the ability to teach others that language. Ask yourself, would you be able to help another person learn your native language? It can be very challenging! I know, because I’m definitely not able to teach people my native language effectively, however, I became quite good at teaching English.
First and foremost, you need a professional, the person who has the experience, clear vision of how to approach the language acquisition process, and, better, a certified specialist.
Native speakers have their own unique accents, idioms and their own character, that they express through their native language, choosing words and their ideas in peculiar ways. And yes, it can be so useful if you are planning to move to that country, where your tutor is from; you could train your ear and pick up some pronunciation and intonation specifics to fit into the new environment.
However, if you are working on the international arena and are surrounded by professionals from different countries, your choice is a non-native tutor (better language coach), who had the experience of learning the language themselves, went through the same challenges, that you are going through, found ways to craft understandable and effective communication in the language that is foreign to them, had to go through jobs interviews in international companies, and so on. Something that can not be replaced – experience.
Search for a person, who will understand, what you are going through and can share some tools and tricks on how to be successful in this unfair world.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this long and passionate post, I’m eager to discuss with you the ideology of native speakerism, that we all are affected by.
Native speakerism is a prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination against ‘non-native’ English speakers, implying that individuals of certain language groups are innately superior to individuals of other language groups.
This ideology affects the employment and payment of many professionals working in the sphere of language teaching (but not only) and is compared to other -isms like racism and sexism.
‘Non-native speaker’ label may have more neutral connotations with other languages but with respect to English it relates to global politics which gives it ‘neo-racist’ meaning.
The discrimination takes places not only in ELT (English language teaching) sphere; in many business companies non-native speakers face financial and career glass-ceiling – professional limitations people deal with because of their accent or simplified vocabulary.
Linguistic discrimination is simply another type of discrimination that we need to be aware of. Many of us feel underestimated as professionals because of the native language we speak, which means because of our origin, our culture.
I’m absolutely sure, that in the future we will focus on effective global communication for the sake of a better world that we have to build all together, and there is no place for discrimination.