A global conversation on native-speakerism: toward promoting diversity in English language teaching

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It has been over three decades since Paikeday’s “The Native Speaker is Dead” was published, but alas the native speaker fallacy (belief that native speakers are the ideal language teachers) is still very much alive and remains dominant in the field of English language teaching. Although awareness of linguistic discrimination and the racialization of English are widespread in academic circles, on the ground such injustices are still common, as can be seen when browsing job advertisements which often directly request “native speakers” (NSs). This chapter begins with a series of autoethnographic accounts of the author’s experiences of native-speakerism occurring globally. These accounts are used as a springboard for a multiple case study exploring the attitudes and experiences of 130 adult learners and 72 English language teachers in two multilingual and multicultural cities: Vancouver, Canada and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Findings revealed that native-speakerism has a strong presence in students’ ideologies as well as teachers’ recruitment and classroom experiences. It is argued that the linguistic and ethnic background of teachers often greatly affects their experiences. From a world Englishes perspective, the binary terms “native speaker/non-native speaker” are problematized due to the complex composition of English speakers today. Practical ways to move beyond NS/NNS binaries and embrace diversity in English language teaching are advocated.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Englishes, global classrooms
Subtitle of host publicationthe future of English literary and linguistic studies
EditorsKirsten Hemmy, Chandrika Balasubramanian
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature Singapore
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789811940330
ISBN (Print)9789811940323, 9789811940354
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022


  • Native speakerism
  • Diversity
  • English language teaching (ELT)
  • World Englishes
  • Linguistic imperialism


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