By El Mehdi Oussellim
Marrakech – The following is a reader reaction to the original article “The Hurdle of Native Speaker Requirement for English Language Teachers” by Abdelmounim Ait Hammou.
In his article, Ait Hammou addresses the issue of English native speakers being favoured to teach English in foreign countries. This issue has become more obvious especially in online vacancies. Many countries prefer native speakers with no teaching certificates over qualified teachers from non-native countries. As Ait Hammou states, being a native speaker of a language does not mean being able to teach it.
I strongly agree with Ait Hammou that bias recruitment should be rejected. Schools should choose teachers with good skills and the right certificte for the job. However, I do not agree with the justification he provides in the article. Ait Hammou states that many native English speakers were his teachers. He also compares between them and Moroccan teachers. I think that the comparison is not necessary to justify the preference of native speakers as teachers.
The last comparison between Moroccan teachers and the average native teachers was biased. I believe that that was a ‘bias by story selection’. Ait Hammou chooses only the case when Moroccan and English native teachers are equal. Concerning the language, the article contains many difficult words. Many second speakers of English will find the article difficult to read. There are many long and compound sentences. Many words have multiple meanings that would confuse the readers.
As a university student and young Moroccan, I think the skills and the teaching certificates should decide the right person for the job. Being a native speaker does not mean being able to teach your language. Teaching a language includes more than being good at one. There are many factors that determine whether a person is suitable to be a teacher or not. These factors are more important sometimes than speaking the language fluently.
As a student, many native teachers taught me English. The difference between native speakers and Moroccan teachers was pronunciation and vocabulary explanation. Moroccan teachers were successful in explaining vocabulary in a creative way. Native speakers struggled with explaining vocabulary but they helped me with pronunciation. They are the best to teach pronunciation.
This stereotype that favours native speakers over non-native teachers should be rejected. The skills and the teaching certificates should decide the right person for the job.
English in Media is a Master’s level course in Linguistics at Cadi Ayyad University. The course aims to increase students’ media literacy and awareness of media bias. It also trains students to simplify their English for better communication with non-native English speakers. Morocco World News is partnering with the students of this course to provide them with a real-life opportunity to use and show what they study.
El Mehdi Ooussellim is a 1st year Master’s student in the Linguistics and advanced English Studies program at Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech. This reaction is part of a class on English in Media.
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