Should Native Speakers also take language proficiency tests?

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In this edition of The TEFL Show podcasts we discuss whether Native Speakers (NS) should take language proficiency tests. While Non-Native Speakers (NNS) need to show a proof of their language proficiency if they want to enroll on a CELTA or DELTA course, for example, a NS of English only needs to show their passport and will be readily accepted (as long as they pass all the other requirements, of course). We debate whether this is fair and outline some of the reasons why NS should also be required to submit proof of their language proficiency.

We would love to hear what you think about this, so please leave us a comment below. We’ve also created a poll which will be open for a week, so vote now: should NS take language proficiency tests? You can give your reasons for your answer in the comments section below.

The podcast music theme is under Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0 International License and was downloaded from this website.

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5 thoughts on “Should Native Speakers also take language proficiency tests?

  1. Most CELTA courses required or advised that the course should be taken as a post graduate qualification (for NS inclusive) so all students had to prove their proficiency.

    1. By ‘post graduate’ do you mean after a Bachelor’s Degree? A colleague of mine is in the middle of the DELTA and has never been to university, so while it may be advised, it isn’t necessary.
      (For the record, colleague is intelligent, experienced, bilingual, has the CELTA, and is a good teacher.)

  2. I think NS teachers should have something to prove that they are more than capable in English. If they don’t have a degree, then yes, a proficiency test. But I’m not sure why places like Australia demand the IELTS from people who can prove, via education, that they are skilled users of English.

  3. If a NS teacher has no proof of education regarding English, then yes, I agree they should have to undertake a test to prove English proficiency. The majority of schools/countries that I have encountered all insist on a degree plus a TEFL/CELTA/DELTA qualification.

  4. Actually the truth is that most newly ESL trained native teachers have an incredibly sharp learning curve when they start their teaching…most are too embarrassed to say they really don’t know anything about grammar and even vocabulary, but you have to know it – do or die…good to have a test at the beginning to see where you are at, so you can take the test at the end as well and see how much you have learned!

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