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Non-Native Speakers in TEFL
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Ann



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2003 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nina,
Please continue writing in this forum.
I think some people are confused as to whether you're still learning English or whether you're teaching English or are planning to teach English in the near future.
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Albulbul



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2003 6:28 pm    Post subject: nina please continue Reply with quote

I think Nina should continue writing and posting. This is not restricted to teachers is it ? We need some fresh air !
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2003 11:32 pm    Post subject: Don't Take It Too Personally,But.... Reply with quote

Nina,
I think it is fine that you are striving to improve your English.I hope you continue posting,too.
However,I think you are taking comments on your English ability too personally,and I do not think anyone,myself included,is"just chasing grammatical mistakes". Nor do I think I am a "guard" or any of that other stuff.

I speak French.I can "get by"with my French in most situations.However,I would never dream of teaching French.My French is just not that good,and I readily admit it.

Teaching English(if you REALLY teach English) is not easy at all.Of course,I know there are a lot of people out there running around "faking it"(no, I am NOT talking about you).

Sincere best wishes for the future,Nina.I hope you continue posting on this forum. Smile
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TokyoLiz



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1104
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2003 12:42 am    Post subject: About not taking it too personally... Reply with quote

Nina, please see last few lines of my post above.

I think it's rather impressive that you have learned another language in the school of life rather than in an institution.

I would miss your voice on this forum. You've had lots of interesting things to say.

Ann asks whether you're a student of the language, a teacher or a prospective teacher. It's not really clear from your posts.
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2003 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Nina!

I want to join the ranks of those who want to stay in touch WITH YOU! And, quite sincerely, you should NOT regard yourself as DISQUALIFIED as an English teacher, full stop!
To bnix, I would like to say that a must-have quality of any teacher is the ability to continually learn new things! The best teacher is the one that can teach himself or herself!
Did you have to make that comment about Nina's English typos and grammar? Surely you agree with me that adding that most telltale hint - "I don't want to be UNKIND..." - was not necessary?

I want to say that ESL/EFL teachers are a privileged caste! English is probably the only language that protects its native speakers in the teaching market. Not necessarily a fully justifiable exercise! Just look at some posts from native speakers in this forum! What's more, listen to how some of them defend their choice of temporary vocation!

Few master a second tongue! Is it an arrogance on the part of English speakers to believe only others have to make the effort to acquire a second language? And, who teaches most people English? From primary through college? It invariably is a local bilingual person! So, hat off to those versatile, culturally-mobile, linguistically-versed professionals!
Nina might be just one of those who act as a bridge between her own culture and the culture of a native English speaker!

Especially here in ASIA, most native-speaking 'English teachers" are educationally-challenged! Oh yes, one of these sarcastic euphemisms - take note, bnix!
Yet, these itinerant EFL/ESL teachers, often labelled 'backpackers', often younger than their opposite numbers, want as much respect as their Asian teacher colleagues with a long training. Why do native English speakers wish to teach their way around the world?

It is human nature to crave dessert before the main course. Perhaps in the anglophone world, attitudes and respect for teachers are not a given, at least not to the same extent as elsewhere in the world. However, one aspect of teaching springs to your eye:
It is a white-collar job.
So many a guy whose rightful aspiration should be to become a blue-collar worker chooses teaching. It reminds me of the anomaly in Western countries that you can observe in gynecological wards: The majority of obstreticians and gynecologists are - males!
And, from time to time, some of these guys are found to be - underqualified. Lucky the patients who had no reason to doubt their doctors' competence! Still, it makes one wonder what "professionalism" is! A "doctor" in Germany lead a hospital ward for 8 years before he was exposed as an impstor! In Hong Kong, two doctors... in France... And on the other hand, there are excellent trained physicians that commit a number of plunders that cost their patients their health, even their lives!

Those backpackers that feel ostracised by their more highly-trained peers usually refer to teaching as a vocation "that is not like rocket science..." Yes, but Albert Einstein WAS a teacher.

Once more, Nina et al.: The best foundation for most of us to be teachers is being multilingual!

Only those who had to learn all the DIFFERENCES between their accustomed way of thinking and that of a new tongue can appreciate SUCCESS in learning a foreign tongue! I am sure Nina can better monitor her eventual students' progress from level X to level Z!

Good luckk to you, Nina,
Roger
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2003 10:38 pm    Post subject: What Are You Babbling About? Reply with quote

Roger...what is all of that"privileged caste" nonsense? As I stated in my post,I hope she continues posting.I also hope she continues improving her English.Seriously.People who want to teach English should be able to speak English at a reasonable level before they start teaching English.Obviously,that would be true for any language.I do not try to teach French because my French is not that good.Pick any language.Same thing. Rolling Eyes
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Lucy Snow



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 218
Location: US

PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2003 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And, quite sincerely, you should NOT regard yourself as DISQUALIFIED as an English teacher, full stop!
To bnix, I would like to say that a must-have quality of any teacher is the ability to continually learn new things! The best teacher is the one that can teach himself or herself!
Did you have to make that comment about Nina's English typos and grammar? Surely you agree with me that adding that most telltale hint - "I don't want to be UNKIND..." - was not necessary?


Many of us on the forum bleat on and on about how there should be standards dammit in the profession of ESL and how all of those unqualified backpackers should just stay out of the business and let us professionals do the job.

Quite sincerely, Roger, as much as I and many other people enjoy Nina's posts, based on those posts she is unqualified to be an English teacher. Yes, a must-have quality of any teacher is "the ability to continually learn new things" but I would argue that one should also have competence in the subject that they're teaching.

And based on the reaction to Bnix's post, it was necessary for him to add the caveat "I don't wish to be unkind..." It was obvious from his post that he didn't wish to offend Nina, but was aware that what he was about to say would (and did) offend her.

The function of any effective teacher is a willingness to be critical and to point out mistakes. For a teacher to be both good and effective, they must do this in a way that doesn't destroy the student's willingness to learn.

To be a good student one must realize that to learn anything well--language, cooking, kayaking, whatever--you have to accept criticism. Teachers don't do you any favors if they're solely concerned with your self-esteem.

So, Nina, keep on learning English and keep on posting. You've done astonishingly well for someone who's teaching herself. It's good for all of us to hear different voices.
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2003 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucy Snow,

I have to take issue with your comment. It is going to be a medium challenge to stay polite because you were just as abrasive and dismissive as bnix was. Do you ever say to one of your English learners, "you won't ever be able to become a pilot because your English is not up to requirement..."???

Go on and on and on, and add a couple of patronising pats on Nina's shoulders - but I disagree with you for a number of reasons!

Tell me if I am wrong but I suspect you can't speak any second language proficiently yourself - si je me trompe, tu me le diras - ou en francais, anche in italiano, oder auf deutsch!
One of the mistakes imputed to Nina by bnix was the mispelt word 'boder'. Now how serious is this faux-pas? Put quantitatively, it is one letter too few. And, from the phonetic point of view, there is a minor difference between "d" and "th" - minor because some English words with a 'th' actually are pronounced like words with a 'd', or very close to it! What if this discussion were held orally? Would YOU have noticed any difference????
On the other hand, Nina certainly recognises the word 'bother' in a given context and she will therefore be able to pick up the correct spelling on her own without some boorish native speaker pointing out her mistake! Herein lies the great divide between "native English speaking teachers" and non-native English teachers: the latter may be a lot more inclined to improve their own English skills, whereas native speakers tend to be lax if not downright disinterested in learning the ropes of their own language!

In her previous posts, her English was a lot more polished. I assume she was a bit flighty on that infamous occasion!

Unlike native speakers from the New World (minus South Africa, and to some extent, Canada), Nina probably speaks more than just two languages! As a Bosnian, an ex-Yugoslawian, she probably is fluent in two or three languages of her country. Plus possibly Russian and/or German and/or French and/or Italian.

It is people like Nina, or Peter in Shenzhen, who add cosmopolitanism to the place where they live - Nina in her home country, Peter as a Dutch immigrant to NZ turned English teacher in China. People like them act as catalysts. They inspire interest in their fellow country-people, and respect elsewhere.

Native speakers - the most charitable thing I can say about them is that there are certainly some good teachers among them too! But being a native-speaker does not make you a teacher as such! How many Americans or Aussies read any novels, or teach English literature?

I am based in the world's largest TESL market, and by Gosh! The situation here is really bad - because of the bad influence of native-speaking adherents of a certain school of thought! Chinese all waste 5 to ten years at school studying English - and few other countries in the world have so many native English teachers per classroom as China does! What are they doing here? Most can't communicate with their charges or their local colleagues because neither do these expats know enough Chinese nor do their Chinese opposite numbers learn to use English effectively!

That is why I think people with the enthusiasm and idealism that NINA has shown would make a much better impact than most native speakers do!

Nina, if you want to come to China, message me! I will help you!
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nina



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 12
Location: Bosnia

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2003 6:16 pm    Post subject: I am sorry for this trouble Reply with quote

Dear people,


I AM SORRY Embarassed . Why? Because I noticed that I created a trouble in this forum. To make remark I am not English teacher. In my country is a fashion to study English, so each young person is running to study english but not me, no offence. I do agree that English is first language in the World, one of the first. It is true that my english is a street english, but I am proud of it and as well I was little a bit hurt. Since my 11 yrs of age I was trying to learn enlgish on my own, I am proud of it. Why? I CAN UNDERSTAND ALL OF YOU, your expressions, conversations etc. I hope at the same time that you can understand me. It could happen that you discover a mistake, of course it is understandable because all of you are teachers and am not. I am studying economy, but still I would like to continue to chat with all of you. I would like to request you to forgive me for my english because this english is from all over the world as Asia, Africa USA, UK, Europe. I worked for 8 yrs with United Nations and now you can understand that I was picking up the words etc. But I will not study english, since I like economy and law so in meantime I will try to steal some words, idomes, phrases etc from all of you Very Happy Embarassed . I hope all of you will forgive me. Since this issue was according to bother, please do not laugh one Mr. American wrote BODER (he was my chief for 2 yrs and plus Police officers) and in my one dictionary is BODER not BOTHER so tell me who is wrong me or those two ways. But I know by British English it is correct BOTHER, but what can I do if some words are turned over by the USA English. If you go to Microsoft Word you will find dictionaries on English (UK) and English (USA) so my dear people what about this case.

Sorry for trouble, and if you are angry tell me, I will not be troublemaker.
I am thankfull to all of you for this support, I wish to know you face to face because all of you are wonderfull, amazing, splendid. Do not be surprised with this, I have been going through the difficult way of english.

One example I wrote something on english and Mr. Charles from UK said that it is prefectly good (he was not complimenting, he gave his honest opinion, and believe me he was honest person I felt it on my skin in different ways during office hours) and second person was Mr. Dave - a great police officer from USA, and this is funny Very Happy he said to me that it is completaly wrong,grammatically and etc. So, dear people tell me what you would do that if you were in my situation.
Of course I will not tell you what I did it because I gave up from that particular part.

I know it is a bit strange to talk with someone who does not have a clue about english but I will continue to boder all of you with my street english. And Mr. Bnix i hope you will learn wonderfull language of love I meant on French language, because I adore that language. I know few languages but not really that I can communicate, argue and express my feelings.

Thank you again, by the way spring is coming to my country and at the same time good time.

Yours Nina Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2003 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nina:

Being a police officer in the US requires nothing more than high school graduation. High schools here graduate just about anyone who bothers to show up most of the time. US high schools can be a great place to learn, but learning is certainly not necessary to graduate from one.

With that in mind, your police officer friend was wrong. The correct word, British or American, is "bother". I am not a walking dictionary, but "boder" is a word that I never either heard or used.
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Lucy Snow



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 218
Location: US

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2003 7:26 pm    Post subject: To Roger Reply with quote

I fail to see where I was "abusive" or "dismissive." In fact, in response to my and Bnix's rather understated posts, you went into a what could only be described as a hissy fit.

I particularly enjoyed your generalizations. For your information, I speak German, Japanese and conversational Hungarian. You asked if Americans teach Literature, or read novels--I taught American literature as well as ESL at a Japanese university for eight years. I have a BA with Honors in English Literature and an MA in American studies. I think it's pretty safe to say that I read novels.

In Japan, the abysmal state of langauge learning in that country was not due solely to the ineffectual native speakers. Every year at my university my worst students, the ones who couldn't speak or write a grammatical sentence, would announce to me that they had just gotten jobs as English teachers in a junior or senior high school. All of the bad habits they picked up from their Japanese instructors were going to be passed on to the next lot of language learners. And the native-speaking university professors would have to spend fruitless hours trying to correct all of the mistakes. I suspect that could be a problem in China, also, but I'm only speculating.

The Japanese Education Ministry is to blame for a lot of that. So much of what passed for "English teaching" was in fact preparation for standardized tests. My university students had deep knowledge of grammar and large vocabularies, but couldn't speak or write English. I met too many Japanese secondary school "English teachers" who couldn't hold a simple conversation in English--and some of them had been teaching for twenty years!

I also met many Japanese who were fluent in English, and couldn't get decent university-level teaching jobs. One woman, who had graduated from an American university with a degree in TESOL, finally took a job at Nova teaching children. Here in Hungary, I team teach with a Hungarian who speaks perfect English, and is a damn good teacher besides. I certainly do not believe that only native-speakers can teach English. But I also believe that one should be fluent in the language they're teaching, regardless of their native tongue.

I stand by what I said about criticism. In my early undergraduate years, a teacher wrote on a paper I had submitted "You may have been told you're a good writer. You aren't." Pretty cruel and yes, I was devastated, but I hauled my butt into that professor's office and found out what I was doing wrong. Many, many times I had papers handed back with more red ink than black, but guess what? I became a better writer because that professor took the time to point out my mistakes.

And yes, details do matter. In Japanese, for example, "momo" can mean "peach" or "thigh" depending on the inflection. Say it incorrectly, and what you're saying becomes meaningless. You're a German speaker, right? Does it matter if you make a mistake in the gender of a noun? Ja, sicherlich.

I would never tell a student that they could never become a teacher--but I wouldn't lie to a student with the mistaken idea that I was being kind or supportive. As I said in my post, a good teacher knows how to criticize without stifling the student's love for learning.

So now I guess I'll await breathlessly your next accusations of cruelty or dismissiveness. Oh, wait--was that dismissive? Oh dear...
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:15 am    Post subject: "Abrasive and Dismissive...No Way!"(To Roger) Reply with quote

Roger,
Of course,if you think I was "trying to be abrasive and dismissive" to Nina...that is your opinion.Actually,I was trying to be kind(not patronizing) while pointing out the fact that she should continue improving her English if she wishes to teach English.

I suppose I could take umbrage at the fact that you consider me"abrasive and dismissive"...but I don't have a thin skin,and anyway I was not "abrasive and dismissive". Neither was Lucy.She was simply pointing out the facts.

1.My best wishes to Nina in the future.I hope she continues posting and improving her English.Based on her posts,I would say she needs to continue improving her English before she contemplates teaching it.That is not being abrasive or dismissive.Just the TRUTH.I suggest you take a look at her posts.I am sorry if people take things like that personally,but the TRUTH is the TRUTH.We are not just talking about a "few typos", either.

2.The idea that, because someone does not agree with your opinions that person is "abrasive and dismissive" is an attempt to take things to a personal level.I do not agree with your opinions,either.But I do not characterize you as "abrasive".

Although to tell the truth,I am curious as to how long you have been in this field,if you have any real qualifications,and if you do,why CHINA? Not being "abrasive", just curious.And of course,it is your business.If you choose,you do not have to tell anyone.Who knows...maybe I am wrong and you have wonderful qualifications and just like CHINA. Want to tell us?
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To satisfy your curiosity, bnix:
I have chosen China for a purely romantic reason - the love of travelling and experiencing a foreign place that is undergoing tremendous changes.
I was asked to work here, and I had a number of misstarts! But through trail and error I learned to survive here, and now I have been here a good many years.
IT is not because I cannot work elsewhere.

And, why did I single you and Lucy Snow out for lambasting?

Simply because your posts came totally uncalled for. Nobody asked you to comment on Nina's replies, yet both of you endeavoured to assess her English.

I normally enjoy your contributions, bnix!
Have a nice day
Roger
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:58 am    Post subject: What??????(To Roger) Reply with quote

Roger.Seriously,what kind of logic is that?You state Lucy's posts and my posts "were uncalled for"...and "no one asked you to comment".

I agree.No one asked us to comment.But when someone posts on the forum,there is always the possibility someone will respond,and will post opinions that other people do not agree with....correct?I was unaware that you need a specific invitation to respond to a post.Whenever we make the decision to post something on a public forum....we are opening ourselves up to possible criticism and opinions which differ from our opinions.For example,you called me"dismissive and abrasive". But I sort of shrug that off and think"Well,the guy is entitled to his opinion." In other words,you are telling Lucy and me we should have just shut up and kept our opinions to ourselves because our opinions do not agree with your opinions? What kind of a forum is that?

And again,I wish Nina all of the luck and success in the future.And I really hope she continues posting on this forum.But based on her posts,I hope she continues improving her English before trying to teach English.I am not being patronizing...just truthful.Best Luck to Nina in Bosnia and Roger in China.Seriously. Smile
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dduck



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 422
Location: In the middle

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2003 11:04 am    Post subject: Re: I am sorry for this trouble Reply with quote

nina wrote:
I AM SORRY Embarassed . Why? Because I noticed that I created a trouble in this forum. To make remark I am not English teacher.

I, for one have enjoyed you comments here and I hope you continue posting on the board. Smile

I think the main reason the 'trouble' stems from a certain confusion: This board is set-up for teachers looking for work. Understandably, some people here seemed to have assumed that you are an English teacher, and perhaps commented on your English a little "abrasively" as a consequence. Hopefully, now that we know you're not a teacher these criticisms will become more supportive and encouraging. Let's hope!

Incidentally, there is also a students board available for those who want to improve their English. Personally, I'd like to see you remain here. Smile

Iain
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