English has evolved into the most widely learned and internationally used language because for the increasing numbers of learners in the globalization process. With the growing demand of English education, the competencies of English teachers as Native English-Speaking Teachers (NESTs) and Non-Native English-Speaking Teachers (NNESTs) have become a significant matter of discussion. Research to date on NESTs and NNESTs has primarily focused on teachers’ selfperceptions or their NESTs or NNESTs colleagues’ perceptions on English instruction (e.g., Arva & Medgyes, 2000; Kamhi-Stein, 2004; Llurda, 2004, 2005; Medgyes, 1999a; Moussu, 2000, 2006b; Tsui & Bunton, 2000) and has greatly related to the areas of English as second language (ESL) (e.g., Amin, 1997, 2004; Bernat, 2008; Ellis, 2002; Ma, 2009a; Moussu, 2006a; Rao, 2010; Shin, 2008; Tang, 1997). However, few studies have focused on the perceptions of English as a foreign language (EFL) students in regard to the English instruction of their NESTs and NNESTs. Also, the aforementioned studies have neglected that the group of NNESTs who hold a degree from a country where English is the dominant language may have better English proficiency and be able to provide a more efficient curriculum for language learners than the group of NNESTs who do not hold a degree from a country where English is the dominant language. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate Taiwanese English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ perceptions and preferences toward NESTs and NNESTs who hold a degree from a country where English is the dominant language through addressing the differences of their English instruction. This study employed a concurrent triangulation mixed methods approach, a QUAN – QUAL study. The researcher analyzed quantitative data through descriptive statistics by using Statistical Packages for the Social Science (SPSS 20.0), while ATLAS.ti.7.0 was employed to manage and systematically analyze qualitative data. All 184 participants answered the questionnaire that consisted of 28 Likert scale type statements and two open-ended questions. Only 50 participants responding to the open-ended questions were selected to analyze. The findings revealed that the participants held an overall preference for NESTs over NNESTs; nevertheless, they believed both NESTs and NNESTs offered strengths and weaknesses in their English instruction. More precisely, NESTs were perceived to be superior in their good English proficiency and ability to facilitate students’ English learning. In terms of NNESTs, they were perceived to be superior in their proficiency in students’ first language, their knowledge of students’ learning difficulties, and at communicating in general. The characteristics that were perceived to be disadvantages of one group appeared to be advantages of the other. For example, NESTs were considered more difficult to communicate with by the participants, while NNESTs were believed to have limited English proficiency. Interestingly, the results showed the teachers’ qualifications and experiences were seen as an important feature of excellent English teachers, regardless of his or her mother tongue.
October 1, 2013
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