Native vs. non-native EFL teachers: Who are better?

Kurniawati Kurniawati, Dini Rizki


This paper discusses possible advantages of having Non-Native English-Speaking Teachers (NNESTs) to teach English as a Foreign-Language (EFL) especially in Asian countries when they are often regarded as inferior to their Native English-Speaking Teachers (NESTs) counterparts. A native speaker fallacy has emphasized that NESTs are better teachers of EFL and have put NNESTs at a disadvantage. Actually, NNESTs possess advantages that can make them better teachers for teaching English in an EFL/ESL setting connected with their own EFL learning experiences and with sharing the same first language and cultural background with their students. While considered to have lower English language proficiency and lower self-confidence compared to NESTs, NNESTs who have made the effort to become quality teachers can position themselves as ideal English teachers in their own environment.


NEST; NNEST; English as a Foreign Language Context

Full Text:



Barratt, L., & Kontra, E. H. (2000). Native English-speaking teachers in cultures other than their own. TESOL Journal, 9(3), 19-23.

Barrientos, S. (1998). How to do a literature study. In A. Thomas, J. Chataway & M. Wuyts (Eds.), Finding out fast: Investigative skills for policy and development (pp. 87-106). London: Sage Publications.

Braine, G. (2010). Non-native speaker English teachers: Research, pedagogy, and professional growth. New York: Routledge.

Butler, Y. G. (2007). How are nonnative-English-speaking teachers perceived by young learners? TESOL Quarterly, 41(4), 731-755.

Canagarajah, S. A. (1999). Interrogating the “native speaker fallacy”: Non-linguistic roots, non-pedagogical results. In G. Braine (Ed.), Non-native educators in English language teaching (pp. 77-92). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Coombe, C., & Al-Hamly, M. (2007). What makes a good teacher? Investigating the native-non-native speaker issue in the Arabian Gulf (Kuwait and United Arab Emirates). In C. Coombe & L. Barlow (Eds.), Language teacher research in the Middle East (pp. 53-64). Mattoon, IL: United Graphics.

Edge, J. (1988). Natives, speakers, and models. Japan Association of Language Teachers Journal, 9(2), 153-157.

Ellis, E. (2002). Teaching from experience: A new perspective on the non-native teacher in adult ESL. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 25(1), 71-107.

Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English Language Teaching (4th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Liu, J. (1999). Nonnative-English-speaking professionals in TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 33(1), 85-102.

Medgyes, P. (1992). Native or non-native: Who's worth more? ELT Journal, 46(4), 340-349.

Medgyes, P. (1999). Language training: A neglected area in teacher education. In G. Braine (Ed.), Non-native educators in English language teaching (pp. 177-195). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Medgyes, P. (2001). When the teacher is a non-native speaker. In M. Celce-Murcia (Ed.), Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (3rd ed., pp. 415-428). Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Moussu, L. M. (2002). English as a second language students’ reactions to nonnative English-speaking teachers. (Master), Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Moussu, L. M., & Llurda, E. (2008). Non-native English speaking English language teachers: History and research. Language Teaching, 41(3), 315-348.

Nawi, R. A., Yasin, B., & Champion, I. C. R. (2015). Impromptu: Great impromptu speaking is never just impromptu. Studies in English Language and Education, 2(2), 144-157.

Ningsih, S. R. J., & Fata, I. A. (2015). Exploring teachers’ beliefs and the teaching profession in Aceh. Studies in English Language and Education, 2(1), 61-71.

Oda, M. (1999). English only or English plus? The language(s) of EFL organisations. In G. Braine (Ed.), Non-native educators in English Language Teaching (pp. 105-122). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Reves, T., & Medgyes, P. (1994). The non-native English speaking EFL/ESL teachers’ self-image: An international survey. System, 22(3), 353-367.

Thomas, J. (1999). Voices from the periphery: Non-native teachers and issues of credibility. In G. Braine (Ed.), Non-native educators in English language teaching (pp. 5-14). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Usman, B., Silviyanti, T. M., & Marzatillah. (2016). The influence of teacher’s competence towards the motivation of students in learning English. Studies in English Language and Education, 3(2), 134-146.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright © 2019 Syiah Kuala University

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.