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BRING IN THE NATIVE SPEAKER INTO CLASSROOM

The topic is to study on how to enhance students improvement in English by bringing


in the native speakers into our country, Malaysia. As we all know, the effectiveness of
English in Malaysian students are in the lowest condition. Malaysian children should have
been introduced to the English language as early as four or five years old. They would then
continue to learn English until they reach form five (17 years old). Malaysia has accorded
English as a second language status as stated in Article 152 and given due attention.
Nevertheless, after 11 continuous years of learning English the result is less than
satisfactory (Nur Hashimah Jalaluddin, 2008). According to (Lee G Schallert D, 2008)
learning English from a native English speaker means the participant is more likely to be
successful than if they have learned English through a non-native speaker.

Although the innate characteristics of a native speaker of a language are difficult to


define

(Davies, 2004), some scholars have attempted to shed light on these complex

notions. For example, Chomsky makes the universalist assertion that everyone is a native
speaker of the particular [language system] that that person has grown in his/her
mind/brain (Chomsky, cited in Paikeday, 1985, p. 393). However, Chomskys standpoint is
purely linguistic and does not consider social factors or contextual constraints, and thus does
not lend itself to a socially-contextualized investigation of the issue.

(Medgyes, 1992) also attempts to differentiate between native speakers (NSs) and
non-native speakers (NNSs), arguing that non-native speakers can never achieve a native
speakers competence because they can never be as creative and original as those whom
they have learnt to copy (pp. 342- 343). Similarly, (Cook, 1999) asserts that only a small
percentage of second language (L2) users may pass for native speakers, comparing the feat
with becoming an Olympian athlete or an opera singer. However, the sheer number of highly
articulate expert non-native speakers in the ELT profession and in the academic field of
applied linguistics refutes this notion. We contend that once an L2 learner reaches what
(Cook, 1999) calls the final stage of language acquisition (which Cook notes is very difficult
to define), the difference between native competence and advanced non-native competence
is negligible.

(Davies A. , 2004) offers a more appropriate stance and argues that nativeness is
characterized by certain elements (cf. Stern, 1983):

Acquiring the language during childhood


Ability to understand and accurately produce idiomatic forms of the language
Understanding how standard forms of the language differ from the variant that

they themselves speak


Competent production and comprehension of fluent, spontaneous discourse.

First of all, native speakers feel extremely comfortable using the language in a playful
and dynamic way that can do a lot to facilitate learning (Murray, 2003). This takes the
pressure off of the grammar and can make the learning experience much more authentic,
light and fun. A native speakers repertoire of vocabulary and expressions is going to be so
much richer than a non-native can ever be. Of course there are impressive exceptions, but a
natives use of the language, and especially slang and the more dynamic aspects of the
language (which are often deeply rooted in the culture) are nearly impossible to emulate by
non-native speakers.

The exception though is the .01% of extremely gifted Brazilian learners/ teachers
who have learned to use and teach certain aspects of the language that transcend grammar.
Ive only met a few of these teachers ever, but they can emulate a native speaker in not just
following the grammar rules, but in breaking them, and then effectively teach it (which few
books do). This is mastery that is beyond the scope of the native/ non-native question.
Another advantage about native speakers is that their students generally feel more
motivated to speak in English in class. The fact that the teacher is from an English speaking
country and not the country of the students generally works as an unconscious trigger for the
student to speak the language. This may have nothing to do with the teachers proficiency or
teaching ability.

The final advantage, which is the most popular, is that a native born teacher will
teach or transmit much better pronunciation (Kiczkowiak, 2014). This is for sure an
advantage, but what a lot of people dont know is that its difficult for beginners and lower
intermediate students take advantage of this. In my opinion, upper intermediate and
advanced students will benefit a lot more. With hard work, good strategies, and a little effort,

however, anybody can drastically improve their pronunciation w ithout the help of a native
teacher, or even by themselves.

Granted, they themselves were English as Second Language (ESL) students, but
without a good command of Malay, Mandarin or the other native tongues we have in
Malaysia, their communication with our students will be limited to English, which is what our
students are having problems with (Nor Hashimah Jalaludin, Norsimah Mat Awal
Kesumawati Abu Bakar, 2008). They would have lesser understanding of our different
cultures and even less of how it impacts our students learning. The major advantage of
NNSETs (Non-Native Speaking English Teacher) over NSETs (Native Speaking English
Teacher) is the ability to draw parallels between English and the native tongue of the
student. This helps tremendously because we lean on our native tongues to absorb and
master another language. If we take that ability away, what does the teacher have left? And
thus if this importing goes through, we will be spending resources in the assumption that the
teachers we are importing bring some vital Indian ingredients of English teaching expertise
that our own local teachers are lacking which will offset their disadvantage of not
having the cultural understanding or common non-English language to communicate to our
students with.

References

Cook, V. (1999). Going beyond the native speaker in language teachin. TESOL Quarterly,
185209.
Davies, A. (2004). The native speaker in applied linguistics. In A. Davies & C. Elder (Eds.),
The handbook of applied linguistics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
Davies, A. (2004). The native speaker: Myth and reality. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Kiczkowiak, M. (18 July, 2014). Native English-speaking teachers: always the right choice?
Retrieved from britishcouncil.org: http://www.britishcouncil.org/blog/native-englishspeaking-teachers-always-right-choice
Lee G Schallert D. (2008). Meeting in the margins: Effects of the teacher-student relationship
on revision processes of EFL college students taking a composition course. Journal
of Second Language Writing, 162-182.
Medgyes, P. (1992). Native or non-native: Whos worth more? ELT Journal, 340349.
Murray, J. (14 March, 2003). Are Native English Speakers Really Better Teachers? Retrieved
from englishexperts.com.br: http://www.englishexperts.com.br/2013/03/14/are-nativeenglish-speakers-really-better-teachers/?lang=en
Nor Hashimah Jalaludin, Norsimah Mat Awal Kesumawati Abu Bakar. (2008). The mastery of
English language among lower secondary school students in Malaysia: A linguistic
analysis. European Journal of Social Sciences, 106-119.
Nur Hashimah Jalaluddin. (17 June, 2008). The Mastery of English Language among Lower
Secondary. Retrieved from teo-education.com: http://www.teoeducation.com/teophotos/albums/userpics/ejss_7_2_09.pdf