segunda-feira, 19 de julho de 2010


There are many ideological concepts that have influenced the field of English teaching. One of them is the position of the native speaker. The ethnocentric concept of the native speakers as the source of the language is obviously convenient for the English teaching industry and its training programs, publishing companies, proficiency tests and so on, once this industry has the U.S. and the U.K. as headquarters (see, for example, Pennycook, 1994, p. 176).

Shocking as it may be, a connection between language and ethnicity is also a possible assumption that comes from the native-speaker centered view. Amin (1997) has researched about the perceptions of Canadian teachers who belonged to ethnic minorities and the idea that foreign students in Canada had that a native speaker must be a Caucasian. Taken to the Brazilian classroom context, would there be any similar perception about race and ability to teach English as far as Brazilian teachers are concerned?

The position of the native speaker as a role model for the learner has as an obvious outcome the privileged position of the native-speaker teacher above the non-native one, an ideological construct that has been called native-speakerism. A dominant practice in the English teaching world market, native-speakerism is essentially discriminatory against non-English speaking individuals and cultures:

An underlying theme is the ‘othering’ of students and colleagues from outside the English-speaking West according to essentialist regional or religious cultural stereotypes, especially when they have difficulty with the specific types of active, collaborative, and self-directed ‘learner-centred’ teaching–learning techniques that have frequently been constructed and packaged as superior within the English speaking West. (HOLLIDAY, 2006, p. 385)

There is much to do in order to have a non-discriminatory view of the relation between ethinicity, nationality and language and the task must be taken by those who are in the periphery of the world and have experienced the concrete effects of discriminatory views.

Um comentário:

  1. I just think that we are as non-native speakers should be really proud to what we have contributed to our students. I'll be more astonished looking at to Brazilian teacher who can really speak English similar to prince Charles than the native one. We are learning language, Sir..., English is not "the native speakers'"English