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When the ad says "native" speakers only!
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sumisan9



Joined: 31 Jul 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 6:59 pm    Post subject: When the ad says "native" speakers only! Reply with quote

Over a period of time I have noticed numerous ads which specify only "native" speakers need apply.

It so happens I was born in a former British colony, spoke English from day one, studied in that language.

But, "technically" speaking, I have to indicate the regional language of the place in which I grew up as my mother tongue.

Now I am a U.S. citizen, having spent more years here than in my country of origin, with three Masters (two obtained in the U.S. ) and a Ph. D., also from the U.S.

One of my Master's is in Journalism and Communictions and I have worked as a Journalist also.

Now, I teach Business Communications at a localCommunity College.

In all my years of living and teaching in the U.S. (I have taught other subject areas), I am appalled at Americans' lack of language skills (especially English) -- both spoken and written. There are a handful who do a great job, no doubt.

Hence, my question/concern about the unfairness of deciding at the outset that only "native" speakers can do the job. How do you convince these employers? Is it worth applying for these?

Any thoughts?
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unionjack
Site Admin


Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 499
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 11:20 am    Post subject: Native speaker Reply with quote

If you consider that you are a native speaker, then I wouldn't let a question on an application form stop me from calling myself a native speaker. I would tell a little white lie and say I was born in and brought up in an English speaking country and that's that.

Whether they should be asking for 'native speakers only' in the first place is debatable but I wouldn't let a little thing like that stop me from teaching English.

A native speaker will recognise another native speaker but no amount of qualifications will make a person into a native speaker.
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Sunflower



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 3
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 3:28 am    Post subject: Native Speaker Reply with quote

Hi Unionjack,


Really liked your last remark: "A native speaker will recognise another native speaker but no amount of qualifications will make a person into a native speaker. "

I have the same problem as Surnisan9, although many times I like to see as an advantage the fact that I am as proficient in English as I am in my mother tongue.

Sunflower
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Curica



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello there!

I am an ESL teacher with 18 years of teaching experiences in teaching young children plus a Masters Degree in Early Childhood in the Philippines. I am presently working here in Croatia in a big private school. During the time when I was looking for a job, all jobs indicated that "native speakers only". That made me feel discriminated in a sense. Like you, I also came from a country which used to be a colony of United States. So our educational program in general is based on English. English language in our country is not considered as a second language. It stands parallel with our native language. Although I do not have the "American accent". But who cares? Very Happy I find that "native speakers" line too preposterous since logically, not all "native speakers " are good teachers. In the same vein as not all singers can teach how to sing. If you know what I exactly mean. In your posting, you said that not all Americans speak correct English. This is really frustrating for us who practically speak English but not considered as the so called "Native Speaker".

At anyrate, I can see that you established a good career in America . Congratulations to you!

Curica Very Happy
curica41@yahoo.com
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liu_wan_shan



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
Posts: 4
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:43 am    Post subject: Getting On Reply with quote

A HUGE thanks to ESL Forum!

I now feel empowered to get on with my job search. Honestly, I had been greatly discouraged upon seeing almost all ads with "native speakers only" and receiving no replies from my numerous applications. I was thinking that maybe ESL is really meant for those few races only.
Now, I know that I too can succeed in this field if I just persevere enough. If other non-native speakers can teach and remain in the field for more than a decade, why can't I? It's just a matter of proving that my English is not inferior to that of natives. Also, there are many resources available for me to improve and polish my skills further.
Thanks a lot, fellows!
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acegal



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2004 11:38 am    Post subject: Native Speaker? Or Accents? Reply with quote

Reading this posts has got me thinking about my experiences here in Japan. I am from the English Speaking Caribbean, yet, after attending 9 interviews, I'm being told I'm not a native English Speaker. I've come to the conclusion, that they're alarmed about my accent. Apparently that (along with other factors that are glaringly obvious) decides your "native speaker competence" in the eyes of certain employers here. The concept of native speaker, is also a concept that is tied into cultural dominance.

At least this is my opinion.... Razz
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liu_wan_shan



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
Posts: 4
Location: China

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:38 am    Post subject: Being Positive Reply with quote

>In my opinion, the rating of an ESL teacher goes something like this (in descending order) : foreign appearance, neutral accent (for easier understanding), personal values/working attitude, English capability, other factors.
>Being positive, non-English natives can strive to excel in the latter areas and then search for some luck (like an urgent demand for substitute teachers, etc. Wink )
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unionjack
Site Admin


Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 499
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 5:43 pm    Post subject: Disadvantaged Reply with quote

No matter who you are, you will never be accepted, as well as you are in your own home town. Nevertheless, it usually comes down to who you know and if they like you, and that determines whether you get the job or not. Certainly, you will have a better chance if you excel in your subject but it is going to be personality that will get you through the door. We also have to take into account, the prejudices of the interviewer and the policies of the company. Generally speaking, in third world countries, there is no protection from the law. Therefore, you are going to be lucky to find a good employer, who will not try to take advantage of you.
I would suggest therefore, that you go to work in a European country, where there is some protection from the law, against bad practices.
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Jamie



Joined: 22 Feb 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:01 am    Post subject: Discrimination is inevitable Reply with quote

I'm sad to admit that discrimination is omnipresent. Being an ESL teacher for nearly 5 years, and having spoken English for the past 28 years of my life (and that's my age too), it gets so frustrating and ultimately I'm disappointed each time I check out a prospective recruiter/employer's ad when just one single line reads NATIVE SPEAKERS need only apply. What is your definition of 'native' speaker? A native speaker doesn't necessarily make better teachers.

I was born in a country formerly colonised by the Brits and grew up in a former British protected country so the education system here is somewhat aligned with the British one. English is the medium of instruction despite being the second language. And I speak fluent English so can I call myself a native speaker even though I don't look like an English native speaker? Where do you draw the lines to compartmentalize the 'native' speakers from the 'near-native/native-like' speakers (of other race). The word 'race' is so discriminating.

When I turn on the TV to watch some American programs, I hear these Americans speaking ungrammatical English and tense all strung together. That's enough to give me goosebumps. The frustration I get from the ads has led me to believe that I should change my career from an ESL teacher to some career less 'race'-oriented because I do not hold an American, Canadian, British, Australian or a Kiwi (New Zealand) passport.

Convince me I should stick to teaching English!
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carlitos



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Thailand

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:41 am    Post subject: Native Speaker Reply with quote

3 masters degrees, a PHD and working at a community college? Confused what the hell happened there...... Confused

.....The reason they want a Native Speaker it's because they have problems understanding someone that speaks clearly, imagine someone that speaks English with a big Jamaican accent... I guess, "Native Speaker" to them means someone that has no strong accent. same as when my thai wife tells me she wants sandwich bread without the "frontiers", she means without the crust...
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Kippy56



Joined: 18 Feb 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Baotou, China

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 8:25 am    Post subject: "Native Speakers?" I think there are other issues Reply with quote

My wife and I operate and own a private English School in Inner Mongolia, China. I am an American and she is Chinese. We are both confined to wheelchairs from 'spinal cord injuries'. (Here's an issue: "They are in wheelchairs! How can they teach English?" Hear this all the time, yet we still have a very successful school Very Happy )

We look for teachers that can speak the "English Language". We prefer 'Native Speakers', but I believe that this may be more of a term to get qualified individuals with confidence in themselves to teach English.

I will admit, that I have found from the parents of the students attending our classes, that if the teacher looks or even sounds different there are a lot of problems. And, in some cases, justified when the speaker does not have a strong grasp of the language or knowledge of common terms used (This is mostly due to the lack of experience and lack of motivation to research the various usage of the Language.).

The teachers we have had as "Foreigners" have done well, even if they have different accents and their pronounciation is different of a few words. We try to explain to the parents, as well as the students, "You are hear to learn English and the various Foreigner Teachers will sound different than the English you learnt in school. It is beneficial for the child/student to learn the different variations of spoken English for a better understanding in the future. For in the future, the so-called "Native Speaker" will not be the one you hear English from."

I also believe there are other issues, and these deal with age and experience in teaching those learning the second language. Often we get teachers wishing to work for us with no experience and no motivation to create a new environment in the class for learning. They only follow the book and it creates an atmosphere of knowing book English only.

I prefer an older teacher who will commit to a year or two. One who will look outside the book to develop an exciting atmosphere to learn in. I am not into those looking for a free trip to China and so forth.
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Mirbat



Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:09 am    Post subject: Definition of a 'native speaker'! Reply with quote

Maybe there is some confusion amongst employers and teachers over the definition of 'native speaker'. Most schools (including mine) use it to mean 'English as mother tongue', so we employ teachers from former colonies, especially from English-speaking areas of India as there's a large expat population in Oman. Maybe it is time to rephrase the job ads and use 'English mother tongue' instead! I see no distinction between someone born in English-speaking India and English-speaking England. The only qualification is accent, and there are some pretty awful accents from the UK - not just the rest of the world!
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Vlada



Joined: 24 Mar 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone, I have already posted a few comments on this topic before and I have to say that it is a bit encouraging to see I am not the only one in the world having a NON-NATİVE SPEAKER COMPLEX (considering the things currently happening this might become a real medical term in the forthcoming years Laughing ) Obviously, I am not a native speaker and used to be deeply frustrated with the fact that it is almost impossible to find an English teaching job if you are not a holder of these 5 or 6 passports that all the employers in the world seem to be requiring. Anyway, since frustration is definitely a redundant and non-productive feeling I decided to turn over a new leaf and replace it with hard work, resolution and defiance, my writing at this and similar forums being one of the things I am sure can help break this non-native speakers prejudice. As surnisan9 argued above, just a fact of you being born in an English speaking country doesn't necessarily make you a good English speaker, not to mention the teaching skills, which the whole bunch of native teachers around the world simply don't have. I've also read somewhere that the employers want native speakers because they want 'the full package'- not just the language and teaching competence but the cultural one as well. I don't think this can hold water simply because there are so many different cultures a native speaker can come from and non-native speakers can be acquainted with all these cultures more than the natives simply because there's a high probability of them having learned about these at university. Not to mention the fact that I'd never like to feel like a 'package' of any sort. Smile
Therefore I want to invite all the grief-stricken non-native souls to gather our strength, teaching and language skills, and prove to the world that not being born in England or U.S. is not necessarily a disadvantage. Things can be changed, we just need to put in a lot of effort in bringing it. Despite all this I have taught in 2 countries other than my own and am looking forward to finding a job in yet another country soon, so don't give up. And PLEASE, always double-check your spelling and grammar before posting a letter, because I've also come to realise that native speakers are allowed to make all sorts of mistakes simply becuse they are native (and they do, all the time), but for non-native speakers even the slightest typing mistake can be a sign of not being competent enough. So, let's cut the c... and bring about change... NOW. Cheers!


Last edited by Vlada on Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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HenanMike



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:11 am    Post subject: Discrimination Issues in ESL... Reply with quote

More and more Chinese schools at all levels are leaning toward Canadians and Americans only who speak "standard American English". The sad fact (well, not for me, being Canadian!) is that the students find it easier to understand Am.E. than Br.E. or its variations. They can't understand the B.B.C. but they can handle NPR, VOA, CBC, and the major U.S. networks. The insidiousness of American movies and the internet permeates their lives. Yes, even in China!

I suppose this is bad for non-Am.E. speakers, but that is the way it is. No school is going to give much of a chance to a teacher, no matter how qualified, if the students complain that they can't understand him or her.
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canuckophile



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:04 pm    Post subject: Native speakers - a difficult breed to categorize Reply with quote

I teach in Korea, where the law requires the schools/private institutes etc to employ only native speakers. It's true that a lot are not at all well versed in English - and I know why. Our schools simply stopped teaching grammar and dumbed down the literature component severely starting in the 1970's. Now the teachers can't teach anything, even if they wanted to, since they are products of the system.

I'm lucky in that sense - grew up in the 50s and 60s - went to Catholic school and man can I ever still diagram a sentence. I remember parts of speech better than I remember my middle name.

So I sympathize with your comments (and frustration).

However, realize that most schools in Asia really cannot judge English speakers. They would have no clue whether your country of origin left you with a strong accent or not, or whether your English is reasonably "colloquial" enough to be appropriate in a conversation class.. So the governments stick to one rule: native speakers only.

Discrimination is rampant in every area of ESL in Asia - they like native speakers (esp Americans and Canadians), they like whites, and they like 'em young, female and blond. (I am none of the latter 3, and I could spend hours boring you to death with the discrimination I have run into.)

So if you are going to be in this profession, you have to get used to it and look for jobs where you can in fact qualify for them.

G'luck.
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