Going beyond the 'native speaker' model in ELT
Implications for teaching, teacher training and materials writing
What's included in the course?
- 10 hours of guided online study;
- 10 hours of guided self-study;
- 2 sections,
- 11 lectures,
- 3 videos featuring ELT experts,
- 7 video presentations,
- 7 articles by ELT and SLA experts;
- guidance and help from your tutor.
It's become sort of an article of faith that all research in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) should compare language learners with 'native speakers'. Similarly, in English Language Teaching (ELT) the 'native speaker' is often said to be the ideal teacher and the ideal model of language. However, just what does it mean to say that someone is a 'native speaker'? And "when we say:
you'll have to ask a native speaker, or
don't ask me, I'm not a native speaker,
what is it we are appealing to? What is it that human native speakers know? What sort of knowledge does the native speaker have?" (Davies, 2012, p.1).
We're going to tackle these questions head on in the first part of the course. We'll look at and critique the idealised image of the 'native speaker' decades of linguistic mythmaking has created. We're also going to look at the implications this has had on ELT, and more specifically at the English we teach, the cultural models we present and the materials we bring to class. And perhaps crucially, we're going to spend the second part of the course looking at some alternatives, and attempt - as suggested in the title - to move beyond the 'native speaker' model. We'll look at possible ideas, activities and lesson plans which you will get a chance to try out.
So, among other things, we'll discuss:
- how linguistics and SLA have influenced our perception of the 'native speaker';
- whether the 'native speaker' is an appropriate and achievable goal for ELT and learning;
- how to move beyond the focus on 'native speaker' language norms in the classroom;
- how we can adapt course books and introduce our students to a wide range of language models, 'non-native-speaking' ones included;
- why and how these issues should be discussed in in- and pre-service teacher training courses.
By the end of the course you will have a better understanding of where the idealised notion of the 'native speaker' comes from. You will have also questioned whether or not 'native speaker' language should be seen as the only appropriate model in ELT. You will also have looked at course book materials with a more critical eye and learnt how to adapt the materials to promote a more international view of English. Finally, if you're currently teaching or teacher training, you will have also got a chance to try out some of the ideas from the course in practice, and to reflect on the outcomes.
So by the end of the course you will have not only learnt more about the latest developments in ELT, but also got an array of new teaching ideas and activities you can use in your daily teaching, materials writing or teacher training.
"I really hope that one day the whole native teacher/non-native teacher issue will be a thing of the past and we’ll just talk about experienced teachers, qualified teachers or good teachers. But until then it’s important to address the issue with sensitivity and common sense. And nobody is better placed than Marek to run Going beyond the ‘native speaker’ model in ELT. His passion on this topic is well-known and I have every confidence that participants will get far more out of this course than they could even expect."
- Katherine Bilsborough, Freelance ELT Writer
I am a teacher, teacher trainer and founder of TEFL Equity Advocates and Academy, where I help English teachers tackle 'native speaker' bias by teaching English as a Lingua Franca. I also help 'non-native speaker' teachers overcome their fears and worries by busting the 'native speaker' fallacy, so that they can become more confident and teach English successfully.
I have taught English in Latin America and in Europe, and am currently teaching at KU Leuven, Belgium. I hold a BA in English Philology from the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan, Cambridge CELTA and DELTA, and a PhD in TESOL from the University of York, UK. I have delivered workshops, talks and plenaries at many international conferences and events for English teachers in Europe and North America.
StartLecture 1: 'Native speaker' - linguistic mythmaking (13:04)
StartLecture 2: Applied linguistics: between myth and reality (14:21)
StartLecture 3: A 'native English speaker' is white
StartLecture 4: A critical look at the 'native speaker' (16:58)
StartLecture 5: Demythologising the 'native speaker' (9:16)