Collaborative Teacher-Students Talks on the Identity of Native vs. Nonnative English Teachers

Hadi Maghsoud


The rise of English as an international language and English globalization has rekindled the debate over native vs.
nonnative teachers’ identity in terms of their strengths and weaknesses in foreign language education. To contribute
to the debate, this study explored EFL learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of native and nonnative teachers’ identity.
Six nonnative teachers and their students (N=40) participated in collaborative talks to construct teacher identity in
separate discussion sessions. The conversations were transcribed to extract the main themes through content analysis.
The findings showed that, from the students’ point of view, nonnative teachers enjoy bilingual advantage, have a
better understanding of learners’ culture, and are more capable in establishing rapport with learners. Regarding
native teachers, the students believed that they enjoy linguistic advantage and transfer L2 culture more competently
than non-native teachers. The teachers had similar opinions about linguistic advantage, advanced/elementary level
instruction, and art of teaching. However, they did not fully agree with nonnanative teachers’ bilingual advantage.
The findings indicated that EFL learners and teachers prefer native and nonnative teachers in different respects and
that nativeness is not the sole determining factor in teacher identity.

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