Learning English: Do You Need a Teacher or a Native?

This is not a plea against the native English teacher. It’s more of a defense of the teacher of English: that teacher who should be defined by how and what they teach, and not by their passport. English is no exchange good, no earthly possession someone has worked for to acquire. English is an amazing and original creation of all its speakers, whether natives or not. It evolves, it grows and it warps around every time a speaker thinks it, every time a teacher uses it, and every time a learner needs it. English is never-ending richness, a precious resource available to as many people as they want it: it belongs to all its speakers, learners – and ultimately its teachers, too.

<<You cannot possibly teach English if you are no native; maybe you can explain grammar rules, theoretical phrasing and irregular tenses, but only a native can really teach the spoken, common, salt-of-the-earth, real language; English belongs to the native-speakers>>

My guess is some of the above is all too known to many teachers and learners of English alike, and unfortunately, it all comes down to a question of belief. That is, not based on any provable evidence from reality. And that is truly sad because most often than not, human beings are prone to embrace fiction, creativity, art, originality and then some more – but this suspension of disbelief is many times not even tolerated when it comes to teaching languages.

So basically, we are all too willing to accept the reality in a science-fiction movie, the love story of a power couple in showbiz, or even the given interpretation of the most beautiful impressionist painting – but when it comes to teaching languages, we know for sure that only native speakers can do it. It’s like a treasure that only natives have access to, a longed for good that only natives should be allowed to share, an earthly possession that only natives know how to use.

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