The Perceptions of Malaysian Students toward Native and Non-native ESL Teachers

Wan Shin Teow, Apinya Manochphinyo


In countries which are placed in the “outer circle” of Kachru’s three concentric circles of world englishes, Native Speaking (NS) teachers are often looked up to as the leaders of English education. This study aims to explore the perceptions of seven local students on both NS teachers and Non-native (NNS) teachers and a comparison of their linguistic abilities. The study is qualitative by nature, employing a survey and an online interview. The study finds that most of the respondents have balanced preferences towards both teachers and are very aware of the different strengths of the NS and the NNS teachers. Teachers are judged based on their personality and abilities, not their nativity. Linguistic abilities are helpful but to most respondents they come second to the teacher’s teaching ability. 

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