Language, Native Speaker Teachers of English, Non Native-Speaker Teachers of English, Students
The favouring of native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) to instruct Arab students in the core English language skills of reading, writing and conversation has sparked considerable controversy among official stake-holders, academia, and interested commentators. Supporters of this trend take the view that a qualified EFL teacher working in the medium of the mother-tongue offers the most efficient and accurate language delivery. Such teachers are also generally perceived to be more highly trained and conversant with relevant EFL teaching technologies. As living representatives of their culture and society, native-speaker teachers are also thought to impact learner attitudes more positively than their non native counterparts. However, critics of the trend firmly reject these assertions. On the contrary, they maintain that native English-speaking teachers cannot secure the desired learning results due to the wide variation of social factors which pose challenges to ‘foreign’ teachers, such as student inability to understand the language of instruction, teacher difficulty in engaging with the prevailing educative customs and content, and regional linguistic and socio-cultural barriers. In light of these ongoing debates, the current study sought to determine the factors which influence the success of EFL instruction by native English-speaking teachers and/or impacted their ability to achieve the desired results. The research adopted a descriptive methodological approach with subsequent data analysis. This paper presents a clear statement of the problem, core questions and importance of the study, and the main objectives. The hypotheses and methodology are also fully elucidated along with the research findings, and summative recommendations for research in the field are suggested. The study concluded that the native English-speaking EFL teacher outperforms domestic counterparts for a number of reasons. The study also found that the NEST methodology and style best align to the learning requirements and needs of contemporary EFL students. The paper concluded that the effectiveness of the English-speaking teacher lies in the authenticity of instruction through the mother tongue and an enhanced knowledge and experience of applying modern educational methods. The survey results demonstrated widespread student satisfaction with the native English-speaking teacher in terms of consistent improvement and progress in their English language skills. The native English-speaking teacher was found to depend on teaching methods which include teaching in the original language, the introduction of modern technology means, and periodic student dialogue seminars to maximize student confidence and the timely acquisition of EFL skills. While the invaluable experience of the native English-speaking teacher remains largely limited to private schools and educational institutions to date, it is held that such expertise would be of equal learner benefit within the public education sector. The data collected from a random sample of students confirmed that 75%-95% preferred an English-speaking teacher and 70%-85% were completely satisfied with the performance of their current English-speaking teacher. Only 5%-25% responded poorly to foreign instructors. Native English-speaking teaching methods were also well-received by 70%-80% of the participants; in stark contrast to the 20%-30% who were dissatisfied with such approaches. Finally, data collected regarding the satisfactory learning of English skills through NESTs, recorded ratios of 65%-90%, while students taught by domestic teachers recorded ratios of 10%-35%. In short, the statistics and ratios derived from this study demonstrate a marked differential in favor of the English-speaking teacher.