I’ve been wanting to write this article for a while now. But, as some of you know now, time is not something I have to spare. But, enough complaining, let’s get on with the article.
As I said, a sensitive topic. I must confess my opinion on this subject has changed over time. Some ten years ago, our academy only accepted native TEFL teachers.
Experience and time have taught us otherwise. And I am happy to have been proven wrong in that subject.
I went to do some mock teacher interviews for a TEFL course last week and found a mixture of non natives and natives. And I was reminded of this issue.
A Cambridge teacher and member of their team, said in a video that nowadays the majority of TEFL teachers around the world now are non natives. Let’s face it guys, it’s gone global.
Being born somewhere does not entail you to teach a language. Being able to speak a language fluently does not entail you to teach a language. One has to learn how learn the language thoroughly, and how to teach it, to be able to help others learn it.
Of course this is my opinion (base on experince and shared by other academy owners). But here are some facts:
- In an answer to a written question E-4100/00, in 2001, the European Commission (EC) stated:
“It follows that the native speaker criterion could be considered to be discriminatory and thus incompatible with the Community rules on the freedom of movement of workers in the Community.”
- In 2002 the EU stated that:
“that the phrase “native speaker” is not acceptable, under any circumstances, under Community law […]. However, a requirement for “perfect knowledge” cannot be seen, as such, as illegitimate under Community law, provided that a very high level of knowledge of a particular language is necessary for the post concerned; the employer has to justify the need for this requirement. As the requirement for a perfect knowledge of a particular language is not, per se, contrary to Community law, the Commission does not intend to urge Member States to ban this requirement from job advertisements which require such a knowledge. However, the Commission recommends using a phrase such as “perfect or very good knowledge of a particular language” as a condition of access to posts for which a very high level of knowledge of that language is necessary.
The Commission will continue to use its powers to fight against any discrimination caused by a requirement for “native speaker” knowledge in job advertisements.
This also applies in its relations with its contractors.”
- Article 21 of EU Charter of Human Rights states:
1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited. 2.Within the scope of application of the Treaties and without prejudice to any of their specific provisions, any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.
We are at the start of this academic year. Maybe us, employers, should be a bit more careful and post EU compliant ads. Maybe we should look for good CVs, and not where someone was born.
Shouldn’t we stop looking for native English teachers, and start looking for professional English teachers (natives or non natives).
I make a call to all academies to do this change. I dream of a world where academies look for teachers, and not countries of birth.
Rant over 😀