Tag Archives: Discrimination

A NNEST perspective on teacher development: a complicity of silence?

Recently, there’s been quite a lot of debate about initial teacher training programmes such as CELTA or CertTESOL and how adequately they prepare people to enter ELT profession. For example, Hugh Dellar argues in this post that such courses are biased towards native speakers. The article sparked quite a bit of a debate, so I’d recommend reading the comments below it, as well as this critique by Anthony Gaughan. On the other hand, James Taylor takes a much more positive view of the CELTA in this article. And if you feel more like listening rather than reading, then you can check out this podcast by The TEFL Show where Rob McCaul and I discuss the pros and cons of the CELTA.

So where do I stand in this debate? Well, I acknowledge that there are some really good things about CELTA or CertTESOL:

  • they’re cheap in comparison to an MA
  • they’re short
  • they’re internationally recognised
  • they’re practical

Now that we’re done and dusted with the positives, let’s look at some criticisms. I take a much more critical view of these courses for a number of reasons. I can’t discuss all of them in one post, so I decided to focus on one, the Non-Native English Speaking Teacher (NNEST) perspective, which is partly related to Hugh’s argument. I expand his argument to talk about teacher development in ELT more general, but all of the points I make also refer specifically to initial teacher training programmes.

[NB: This article originally appeared in IATEFL Teacher Development SIG Newsletter (73), p. 8-9. You can download a pdf copy of it from my academia.edu profile here. I’d like to thank Adam Simpson and Willy Cardoso for their comments and suggestions on the initial draft of the article.]

Introduction

When I was originally asked to write this article for IATEFL Teacher Development Special Interest Group newsletter on Teacher Development (TD) for NNEST, I thought that the whole premise was somewhat divisive. I don’t really buy Medgyes’ (1992) argument that “NESTs and non-NESTs use English differently and, therefore, teach English differently” (p. 346). Treating the two groups as if they were separate entities can lead to creating even more stereotypes (read this article by Michael Griffin). After all, both NESTs and NNESTs need to undergo pedagogical training and to participate in TD programs if they are to be successful teachers, for “teachers are made rather than born” (Phillipson, 1992, p.14).

However, the more I pondered the topic, the more I realised that there is indeed a NNEST perspective on TD (see Mahboob, 2010 for NNEST lens). While NNESTs have and still continue to make significant contributions to our profession, they have for decades been treated as second-class citizens. And despite the growing NNEST movement and support for it, there seems to remain a certain reluctance to embrace the idea of equality between NESTs and NNESTs (Holliday, 2005); a certain complicity of silence, if you will.

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Photo under CC by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig from flickr.com

Indeed, as far as TD is concerned, the issue of native speakerism in ELT barely ever receives any attention during CELTA, DELTA or in-house TD programs. So, this article will outline some of the ‘silenced’ issues and argue that they must feature more prominently in TD if our profession is to ever extricate itself from the unprofessional and damaging grip of native speakerism.

For the purposes of brevity, the four main issues will be summarized here. I acknowledge the criticisms of NEST and NNEST labels, but for want of better terms use them here. Finally, this article should not be construed as a ‘rant’ against ELT, but rather as a suggestion for areas that I think should be discussed more openly and regularly during TD sessions. For “racism, as well as native speakerism, only survive if they are constantly reinforced through daily discourses that make them seem natural” (Ruecker, 2011, p.407).

Hiring policies

CELTA’s promise of “open[ing] the door to exciting teaching opportunities all over the world” should be taken with a pinch of salt, as research (e.g. Selvi, 2010; Ruecker & Ives, 2014; Mahboob & Golden, 2013) shows that approximately 75% of all job ads published online are for NESTs only. Not only does this mean that a NNEST with CPE grade A, CELTA, DELTA and a BA in English Studies will not even be considered, but also that any application from a NEST from the ‘Outer Circle’ (e.g. Zimbabwe, India) may well be rejected too. In fact, in certain countries (e.g. South Korea), NES status is further ‘refined’ to being white and Western-looking. This has its obvious negative effect on the importance of professionalism in ELT. However, what I find more damaging is that not discussing this issue during TD programs creates a vicious circle. NNESTs are not given support or tools to fight such prejudice. Conversely, NESTs find this advantageous, and thus have little incentive to openly question such policies.

One ingenious initiative to address this was started by @StudyCELTA. They inform their candidates about discriminatory job ads and direct them to @TEFLwork job board which only accepts equal opportunities ads.

ELF and World Englishes

I only came across these two terms (for a detailed discussion see Jenkins, 2007) six years into my teaching career, having by that time done both CELTA and DELTA. I can’t remember them having been discussed in any of the two courses, nor any in-house TD workshops I’d attended. The fact that most interactions in English nowadays take place in situations where no Native English Speaker (NES) is present is crucial, as it allows us to question the idea that students or teachers should aspire to a rather idealised NES model from the ‘Inner Circle’ (e.g. the UK, the US). It can be quite liberating for those NNESTs who have already developed the “impostor syndrome” (Bernat, 2008), simultaneously aspiring to comply with NES norms while being aware of the near impossibility of the task. For a NEST it is also vital to become aware of the fact that the English they speak is just one of a multitude of Englishes, and thus what is deemed correct or an error becomes much less clear cut. If we are to adequately prepare our students for interacting in English outside the class, we need to acknowledge and embrace the fact that “the standard English is no longer the preserve of a group of people living in an off-shore European island […]. It is an international language” (Widdowson, 1994, p.8).

Teaching methods

There seems to be a silent agreement within ELT to view teaching methods as neutral, apolitical, universally applicable and having sound theoretical or empirical foundations. Yet, these assumptions have been questioned on numerous occasions (see Pennycook, 1994 for a comprehensive discussion). In fact, if one examines the countless ELT methods that have over the years “roll[ed] out of Western universities and through Western publishing houses” (Kumaravadivelu, 2006, p. 20) and have been propagated with “an evangelical zeal” (Kachru, 1990, p.15), it is difficult not to notice the economic, political and cultural interests of the Centre lurking in the background (Pennycook, 1994, p.152). The “active, collaborative, and self-directed ‘learner-centred’ teaching–learning techniques” (Holliday, 2005, p.1) have been promoted as clearly superior to other methods, despite an acute lack of empirical evidence, and a disregard for local educational traditions. While TD courses certainly teach you how to best apply these ‘superior’ methods in class, they show little attempt at cultivating a more critical approach to ELT methodology. Thus, in their vast majority, courses such as CELTA produce teachers who are unaware of the underlying Anglocentricity of most ELT methodology, and who will “work within the confines of the institutions of the existing hegemonic order” (Kumaravdivelu, 2014, p.12) helping to perpetuate the privileged position of NS. On the other hand, what these courses should aim to do if we are to move beyond the pervasive ideology of native speakerism (see Holliday, 2006 for a brief discussion), which still imbues our profession, is to cultivate active and critical members of ELT profession.

Students want NESTs?

We’re constantly told by recruiters (e.g. Edge, 2011; Mahboob et al. 2004) that it’s all due to market demand. Students want NESTs, so schools can’t hire NNESTs, unless they pretend to be NESTs – as some colleagues have had to do. However, as Cook (2000) put it, “Nowhere is there an overwhelming preference for NS teachers. Being an NS is only one among many factors that influence students’ views of teaching” (p. 331). The majority of students want good teachers. It seems then that there is a profound disjunction between what many ELT professionals believe students want (i.e. a NEST at all costs, regardless of everything else) and what the majority of students actually want. There is also a belief that as far as the demand for NESTs is concerned the client is always right. On the other hand, we are prepared to question countless other misconceptions about learning and teaching languages that our students might have. This not only further undermines NNESTs’ confidence in their own abilities, but also buttresses the dominance of NESTs in ELT. Exploring this during TD is crucial as it can help us move the focus away from L1 as the most important and sought-after ELT ‘qualification’ to a discussion “about critical competencies of effective teachers and effective teaching regardless of that teacher’s background”(Farrell, 2015, p.3). Finally, it allows for an exploration of the qualities that students really value in English teachers, and of how these can be fostered in teachers.

Conclusions

I started this article with the premise that ELT is still imbued with native speakerism; that is the belief in inherent superiority of NESTs. While there are various other reasons why, despite over 20 years of NNEST scholarships and advocacy, native speakerism is “alive and kicking” (Phillipson, 2012). A very important factor seems to be that, as far as TD is concerned, there is a complicity of silence, a certain unwillingness to discuss and question it. Looking back at my career, I am convinced that if the four issues discussed here had been put on the table much earlier on, before I found out the hard way what effects native speakerism has on job prospects, for example, I would have been much better prepared to question the assumptions behind it and to defend my own rights. I also think that many more NESTs would also speak out against native speakerism, defending not only their NNEST colleagues, but also the value of their own professionalism, experience and qualifications.

PS: If you are concerned about professional equality between native and non-native speakers in ELT, check out and support TEFL Equity Advocates work here.

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References:

Bernat, E. (2008) Towards a pedagogy of empowerment: The case of ‘impostor syndrome’ among pre-service non-native speaker teachers. TESOL. English Language Teacher Education and Development Journal, 11, 1-8. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/16022259/699956107/name/impostor_syndrome_native_speakerBernat2008.pdf

Cook, V. (2000). The author responds… TESOL Quarterly, 34(2), 329-332. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2307/3587957/references

Edge, J. (2011) The Reflexive Teacher Educator in TESOL. New York: Routledge.

Farrell, T.S.C. (2015). It’s Not Who You Are! It’s How You Teach! Critical Competencies Associated with Effective Teaching. RELC Journal, 46 (1), 1-10. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: http://rel.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/01/27/0033688214568096.abstract

Holliday, A. (ed.) (2005) The Struggle to Teach English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Holliday, A. (2006). Native speakerism. ELT Journal, 60(4), 385-387. Retrieved September 30, 2015 from: http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/60/4/385.full.pdf+html

Jenkins, J. (2007) English as a Lingua Franca: Attitude and Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kachru, B.B. (1990).World Englishes and Applied Linguistics. World Englishes, 9(1), 3-20. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-971X.1990.tb00683.x/abstract

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). Dangerous liaison: Globalization, empire and TESOL. In J. Edge (Ed.), (Re)locating TESOL in an age of empire (pp. 1–26). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2014). The Decolonial Option in English Teaching: Can the Subaltern Act? TESOL Quarterly, DOI: 10.1002/tesq.202

Mahboob, A. (Ed.). (2010) The NNEST Lens. Non Native English Speakers in TESOL. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Mahboob, A., Uhrig, K., Newman, K., & Hartford, B. (2004). Children of a lesser English: Nonnative English speakers as ESL teachers in English language programs in the United States. In L. D. Kamhi-Stein (Ed.), Learning and teaching from experience: Perspectives on nonnative English-speaking professionals (pp. 100–120). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Mahboob, A., & Golden, R. (2013). Looking for native speakers of English: Discrimination in English language teaching job advertisements. Voices in Asia Journal, 1(1), 72–81. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: https://www.academia.edu/4517679/Looking_for_Native_Speakers_of_English_Discrimination_in_English_Language_Teaching_Job_Advertisements

Medgyes, P. (1992). Native or non-native: Who’s worth more? ELT Journal, 46(4), 340-349. Retrieved September 30, 2015 from: http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/46/4/340.short

Pennycook, A. (1994). The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language. Harlow, Essex, UK: Longman Group Limited

Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford University Press.

Phillipson, R. (2012). Linguistic imperialism alive and kicking. The Guardian. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/mar/13/linguistic-imperialism-english-language-teaching

Ruecker, T. (2011). Challenging the native and nonnative English speaker hierarchy in ELT: New directions from race theory. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 8, 400–422. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15427587.2011.615709

Ruecker, T. and L. Ives. 2014. White Native English Speakers Needed: The Rhetorical Construction of Privilege in Online Teacher Recruitment Spaces. TESOL Quaterly. Early view. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tesq.195/abstract

Selvi, A. F. (2010). All teachers are equal, but some teachers are more equal than others: Trend analysis of job advertisements in English language teaching. WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review, 1, 155–181. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: https://www.academia.edu/226716/All_Teachers_are_Equal_but_Some_Teachers_are_More_Equal_than_Others_Trend_Analysis_of_Job_Advertisements_in_English_Language_Teaching_2010_

Widdowson, H. G. (1994). The ownership of English. TESOL Quarterly 28(2), 377–88. Retrieved October 21, 2015 from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2307/3587438/abstract

 

 

 

Should Native Speakers also take language proficiency tests?

logo new #2Listen to and download these podcasts from the iTunes Store here, our Soundcloud channel here or from this section of the blog.

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.

TESOL Convention 2015: ‘The employment issues committee – building the bridge to better employment’

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One of the most interactive and interesting sessions that I attended during this year TESOL Convention focused on employment issues and problems in English language teaching. As you can imagine from some of my previous posts (e.g. ‘The TEFL blame game’) and my work with TEFL Equity Advocates, I’m quite concerned about working conditions and worker rights in our industry. Unlike IATEFL, TESOL has tried to address the concerns and problems English teachers face and has developed an Advocacy Action Centre, which you can read more about here. They also issued several position statements, opposing native speaker favouritism, among other things. So I was quite interested to see what issues would be brought up during the session.

First, we were divided into groups depending on our teaching context. I was in the EFL group together with two teachers from Japan, one from Oman and one recruiter mostly working in the Arabian peninsula. The other groups included ESL, K to 12 and those teaching in US or Canadian universities.

Each group first discussed the issues that they would like TESOL to do more advocacy on. Then we reported the points raised by each group to the others. Below I made a list of all the points that the different groups raised.

  • corporatisation trend, subcontracting to outside companies
  • task force looking at pay structure, work load, etc.
  • high tuition but low salary for teachers
  • accreditation (K to 12)
  • high stakes test hurt collaboration between teachers (K to 12)
  • high overturn
  • labour laws and traditions in different countries
  • short-term contracts
  • PhD required more and more to teach English (Japan)
  • age discrimination
  • NEST favouritism
  • being a NS treated as a qualification
  • TESOL and affiliates should do more advocacy

Apart from those, I’d personally add:

  • difficult to have foreign teaching qualifications accredited and recognised to teach in the public sector
  • often CELTA treated as more important than a BA or MA degree in English (especially if it’s from a non-English speaking country)
  • observations used as a controlling tool rather than for professional development

I will be very interested to see whether any of these points will be actually taken up by TESOL, or let alone lead to some concrete changes. Having said that, it still feels really nice that we can openly discuss and express our concerns and that TESOL takes time to organise sessions like these and listen to our little rants 🙂

What are your biggest concerns about employment and workers’ rights as an English teacher?

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The TEFL blame game continued

Last week I came across two posts which tried to pinpoint who is to blame for the working conditions English language teachers in TEFL/TESOL industry have to deal with. There are no doubt many things that are profoundly wrong with our industry. For example, low pay (apart from certain countries in Asia and the Middle East), sham contracts or discrimination NNESTs face. There are also the profit-oriented language schools, which are neither interested in their students’ progress, nor in the quality of their teachers. Finally, our industry is probably the only one I know of that only requires a 4-week teaching course to become a certified and qualified English professional (mind you, in many cases this isn’t necessary either – having been born in an English-speaking country will be enough).

So, who is to blame for the state TEFL/TESOL is in?

Under Creative Commons from: https://flic.kr/p/2QwtYd
Under Creative Commons from: https://flic.kr/p/2QwtYd

David Petrie in this post points the finger at ‘the market demand’. And so do many others in our profession, to be fair. Since I set up TEFL Equity Advocates to fight for equal employment rights for non-Native English Speaker Teachers (NNESTs), I’ve been told over and over again that the ones that I have to convince are the students. Or their parents. For it is the market that drives the supply.

I completely object to this line of thinking for several reasons. Firstly, it assumes that the market demand is omnipotent and can never be influenced by the supply or any outside factors. Clearly, though, there are examples of how an innovative and cutting edge product, or powerful advertising can shape what the market demands.

It also suggests that since nothing can be done, we should kick back and let the market rule our lives (and working conditions) – a very complacent and lazy ideology, to say the least. Again, it offers no solutions and relegates us to the roles of automata. A rather depressing thought.

Finally, this line of thought also doesn’t address the problem of the origin of the current market demand. Surely, students didn’t just wake up one day to say: From now on, we shall only be taught by Native English Speaker Teachers (NESTs); after which they went to the nearest school to demand exactly that. While I agree that students can and should be allowed to make free choices regarding their education, it is preposterous to assume that the industry and the supply has had nothing to do with shaping students’ preferences.

All in all, while the market is indeed a powerful force that can to a great extent shape any industry, it is not the whole story. There are laws which can be put in place to curb it. The industry can influence what the market wants and educate the customer. So, I definitely don’t think that to blame the market demand is the answer.

The other post on the TEFL blame game I read last week was written by Alex Case. He certainly comes up with a much more comprehensive list of those who should be to blame for the state of ELT which starts with governments, teaching associations, TEFL course providers, and finishes with students. I do agree with the accusations he makes in the post, however, in my opinion there’s a very important point missing from the list, which I think should have actually made it to the very top.

So who is to blame?

Under Creative Commons from: https://flic.kr/p/qbD2H7
Under Creative Commons from: https://flic.kr/p/qbD2H7

WE all are.

Of course, the teaching associations could do much more to support better working conditions. So could the governments. TEFL course providers could and should probably raise the standards, while language schools could stop employing teachers whose only ‘qualification’ is being a native speaker.

However, when was the last time you – yes, I mean YOU – have done anything to try to change your ELT lot? By the way, ranting in the pub after work doesn’t count.

I’m convinced that each of us is partly responsible for what ELT industry is like, or for not having done anything to change it. Teaching associations could indeed do much more. However, they are only the sum of their members, even if slightly greater than its parts. For example, IATEFL has never wanted to be involved in what it considered ‘polictics’, and might never change this stance unless there is a constant and mounting pressure from its members – and the outside ELT community – to act.

Language schools could also pay us decent wages and start valuing teachers based on how well they teach, not where they were born. However, it is futile to expect that they will do so out of good will or pity for our lot. They might, on the other hand, change their minds if we organised ourselves and stood up to them. Of course, nobody wants to lose their job, but then we shouldn’t complain that some employers use this fear against us.

Students and their parents could also realise that whether one is an English native speaker or not has nothing to do with how good a teacher you can be. This is like expecting a patient to get better by themselves while the doctor looks the other way. Students come to us because they don’t know how to learn a language and because they believe we can help them. As educators – if we ever want the ELT community to become a more equal one – we do have a moral responsibility to educate our clients out of prejudices about learning English they might have.

So – to paraphrase David Petrie’s conclusion to his post – if you really want someone to blame for the state of ELT, blame yourself.

And once you get over it, if you’re still bothered by working conditions in ELT, do something to bring about positive change.

TEFL Equity Advocates campaign

I haven’t published anything on this blog for quite a while now for two main reasons. Firstly – as you can notice, I’ve moved the blog from blogger and been working on cleaning up the posts and pages. Secondly (and more importantly) – I’ve been working on another project which I’d like to tell you a bit more about with the hope that you might want to get involved and support it.logo 1

About TEFL Equity Advocates

TEFL Equity Advocates blog (you can access it here) was set up to speak out against the widespread discrimination of non-Native English Speaker Teachers (NNESTs) in the TEFL/TESOL industry. I hope that both NNESTs and NESTs (Native English Speaker Teachers) will get involved as I think it is crucial that we all support each other and stop thinking in binary terms. We’re in it together.

As a non-native speaker, I have faced discrimination myself on several occasions. I was fortunate that at the time I did not give up. I felt angry and frustrated, but I knew that I did not want the same to happen to other NNESTs. And I hated the thought of letting the recruiters get away with it. I’m just very stubborn by nature, I guess. I was also very fortunate that I met many like-minded teachers, NESTs and NNESTs alike, who supported me.

Lukhttps://teflequityadvocates.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/meddings.jpg?w=42&h=71e Meddings: “I’m delighted to support Marek’s campaign, which addresses an issue close to my heart. I like the way in which the ‘hard’ aims of this campaign – such as targeting discriminatory job ads – are reinforced by ‘soft’ ones: sensitisation, dialogue and empowerment. I actually believe it’s realising these aims that will lead to change.

I decided then that we needed a place where we could openly speak out against the prejudice and campaign for equity of all teachers. I wanted other NNESTs to feel that there is hope. That there are numerous people and organisations who support them. I wanted to encourage NESTs to get involved too and to support their NNEST colleagues, because together, we can make TEFL/TESL industry more equal for all teachers, regardless of their nationality.

Why is the campaign important?

Jeremy Harmer:https://teflequityadvocates.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/jeremy-harmer.jpeg?w=48&h=48 “I wholeheartedly support the aims of this blog – the ending of discrimination against more than 96% of the teachers of English in the world. Or maybe 98%…..or more…”

  1. Up to 70% of all job ads around the world advertised on-line on tefl.com, the biggest search engine for TEFL job seekers, are for NESTs only. This means that as a NNEST, regardless of your experience or qualifications, your application will be rejected on the spot. And it means that if you’re a NEST, you’ve been given an unfair advantage which you were not even aware of.
  2. Having your CV turned down as a NNEST, despite being more experienced or highly qualified than a NEST, can be quite humiliating. I’ve met many NNESTs who after years of trying, have simply given up and lost all their self-confidence. They started to believe they actually were inferior and unfit for the job. We can’t let this happen!
  3. Discrimination of NNESTs has been a skeleton in the TEFL’s cupboard for decades. Schools have sold courses by marketing NESTs as the only way to learn a language, marginalising and relegating NNESTs to the status of bush-league teachers. And although things have been changing for the better, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. I’d like the industry to acknowledge the problem and take steps to eradicate it, as organisations such as TESOL France or CATESOL have (see Anti-discrimination statements).
  4. For years students have been told that only NESTs can teach them ‘correct’ English. But let’s have the courage to acknowledge the fact that we’ve been lying to them all along. Both NESTs and NNESTs can be equally good teachers, and our students can benefit from being taught by the two groups.
  5. After all, we all care about our students, don’t we? We all want them to learn, improve, and have a great time in class, don’t we? Yet, we allow the industry to discriminate some of our colleagues, who could make fantastic teachers. We let recruiters choose teachers based on their nationality rather than teaching skills. Let’s stop being so permissive! Let’s act!
  6. Many NNESTs do not realise that there are numerous colleagues who strongly support their cause. They do not know who they can ask for help. And so they often accept their inferior status in the industry. I feel this needs to change. NNESTs should know that we support their rights, and that they’re not alone.
  7. Many NESTs would also like to work in an environment that promotes equity of all teachers. I have many NESTs friends who have already expressed great support for this campaign, and even written posts for the blog. So I hope that we can all campaign here together for a slightly more equal world which will benefit us all.
  8. Finally, inaction is the worst form of action. On any given day numerous colleagues of ours are discriminated, their CVs end up in bins without being even glanced at. We have a moral responsibility to speak out for their rights and to defend them.

TEFL Equity Advocates goals

Peter Medgyes: medgyes“Blogmasters are a dangerous lot, provoking innocent people to open up on the web. Marek is a  welcome exception. He faithfully relays your opinion even if he should disagree and delivers what he promises. I feel honoured to be a supporter of his blog.”

Here are some of the things TEFL Equity Advocates blog hopes to achieve:

  1. Acknowledge and expose the discrimination of NNESTs in TEFL.
  2. Sensitise the public to the problem.
  3. Debunk the most common and damaging myths and stereotypes about NNESTs.
  4. Reduce the number of job ads only for NESTs.
  5. Give self-confidence to NNESTs.
  6. Encourage NESTs to join the campaign and actively support their colleagues.
  7. Provide support and advice in cases of discrimination.
  8. Give NNESTs the knowledge and the tools to fight for their rights.
  9. Diminish the divide between the two groups by encouraging cooperation and dialogue.
  10. Gain support of teaching associations for the campaign and encourage them to publicly denounce discrimination.
  11. Work together with recruiters to ensure both NESTs and NNESTs have equal opportunities of employment.

Get involved!

There are many different ways in which each and every one of us can get involved in advocating equal employment rights for all teachers. Whether you’re a NNEST, NEST, recruiter, teaching association or a student you can do your little bit to help bring about the change and encourage equal treatment of all teachers, regardless of their nationality. Some of them are:

  1. Write an article for us.
  2. Share the blog with your friends.
  3. Let us add you to the list of official friends and supporters.
  4. Support your NNEST colleagues.
  5. Join one of the FB groups.
  6. Talk to your employer about equal rights for NESTs and NNESTs.
  7. Join people like Peter Medgyes, Jeremy Harmer, Divya Madhavan and Luke Meddings who have already written statement of support for TEFL Equity Advocates blog.
  8. Give a workshop on equality or propose it as a topic.
  9. As a teaching association, follow in the footsteps of TESOL France and CATESOL and take a stand against discrimination of NNESTs by issuing a public statement.
  10. As an employer, choose your staff based on their qualifications, experience and language proficiency, giving equal opportunities to NESTs and NNESTs.
  11. Openly speak out against this prejudice.
  12. Be proactive. Stop turning a blind eye. “Indignez – vous”, teachers!

I’d like to leave you with a few words from Divya Madhavan, and I hope you join the campaign and help us make TEFL/TESOL a slightly fairer world. You can access the blog here, and its FB page here. See you there!

https://teflequityadvocates.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/divya.jpg?w=54&h=72Divya Madhavan: “I’m deeply impressed with this campaign because it doesn’t simply make bold statements or pass passionate judgement- it actually provides an intelligent and culturally-sensitive roadmap towards making changes that will have ripples in policy and practice alike. This is the stuff of an authentic critical lens on how we tick in this industry. Critical, in all it’s elegance and complexity. I feel very proud to know Marek and to support this campaign.