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Are they really “two different species”? Implicitly elicited student perceptions About NESTs and NNESTs

Aslan, E. ORCID: and Thompson, A. S. (2017) Are they really “two different species”? Implicitly elicited student perceptions About NESTs and NNESTs. TESOL Journal, 8 (2). pp. 277-294. ISSN 1949-3533

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/tesj.268


The native/nonnative-English-speaking teacher (NEST/NNEST) dichotomy has received much attention in the English language teaching profession. Although research shows that NESTs and NNESTs have different perceived strengths regarding English proficiency, personal characteristics, teaching behavior, and approaches to teaching English, more research is needed to discover learners’ situated perceptions about teachers of English as a second language (ESL) in the classroom. A population of ESL students (N = 76) studying in a university-level English language program completed a semantic differential assessment scale that consisted of adjective pairs (e.g., approachable vs. unapproachable). Without being prompted by the NEST and NNEST labels, the students who were taught by either an NEST or an NNEST implicitly described their teachers’ attitudes toward students, teaching style and practice in the classroom, and personality. Independent t-tests conducted on the scores for adjective pairs revealed that the NEST/NNEST status did not cause significant differences in students’ perceptions, suggesting that NESTs and NNESTs are perceived as equals in the eyes of the students. The study has implications for language teachers and program administrators and promotes teacher empowerment and collaboration.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > International Study and Language Institute (ISLI)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Language Text and Power
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:67258
Publisher:TESOL International Association

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