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Native speakers are the worst communicators

Discussion in 'Staffroom' started by bahn_farang, 31 Oct 2016.

  1. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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  2. evl

    evl Active Member

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    Some interesting points. A lack of awareness of an audience's language skills would easily be a big problem, although hopefully someone would be a bit more aware when actually in a foreign country. There's blame on both sides too, as the article did point out that many cultures are not good at raising the point that they can't understand something that's been said: don't expect change to magically happen on its own. There's also the possibility that some of the native speakers are just bad communicators to begin with!
     
  3. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    Ty for the read but this article has no bearing as to teaching ESL, it is about communicating generally within global business.

    However, on the subject of teaching, one could argue that multilingual NES teachers are better than monolingual NES teachers and that the former 'may' have an edge over NNES teachers.

    To quote a friend from the very same department in Southampton University working alongside Jenkins: "Why would you want to learn a second language from someone who has never learnt one themselves? I wouldn't want to learn to drive with someone who'd never driven.". Seems a fair point eh.
     
    Last edited: 1 Nov 2016
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  4. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Beg to differ and quite happy to stand in disagreement but if communicating has nothing to do with teaching then what is teaching? Although not mentioned, teaching has much to learn from this article.
     
  5. Templeton

    Templeton Member

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    I'm a native English Speaker from the U.S. I have a CELTA cert. and most of the people in my class had poor pronunciation compared to me but a far better understanding of grammar structure when it comes to boarding said structure. I never even herd of V1/2 or 3 before. I won't get into details but I feel very inadequate when explaining structure. If you want to sound American though, I can help.
     
  6. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    "Luckily we all know that every native speaker has clear communication skills and therefore by very definition makes a good teacher."

    Even after three straight lessons that went very well, did your post really make me laugh that the Philip opposite me must have thought a heart attack would kick in....

    "Every native speaker has clear communication skills and therefore by very definition makes a good teacher?"

    ( I beg your pardon BF, but that doesn't sound right to me and it's got nothing to do with me being an NNES English teacher in LOS.


    I grew up in a bilingual environment using English and German from earliest childhood on. Learning languages does something tricky to our brains. I've experienced that on my own and with students who're pretty good at English and then started to study German or any other language that's completely different to Thai. ( Not being a tonal language )

    Sometimes I know the word in English and in Thai, but have to think twice what the German word for it is, when having a Skype conversation with my sister in Germoney.

    We usually "forget" words of the language we aren't using even when we're very well at it a few years ago. That, on the other hand, will come back shortly when moving to the country where this language is usually spoken by almost all.

    I understand pretty much all Aussies, South Londoners, Cockneys, etc.. but I do have a problem to understand spoken German from lower Saxony and a few other dialects/slangs. Not my thing, to be honest.

    I've worked with guys from the UK who weren't understood by 99% of the Americans the guy met. One of his mates also mumbled in a very hard to understand way and they couldn't simply change their speech to an understandable English.

    It's really annoying when two NES guys, bot employed as English teachers can't communicate with each other.
    If the American teacher can't understand the British teacher, how should a student who's used to an American language teacher understand him, or her?

    Even when a lot of Brits constantly criticize Americans for "bastardizing their language", it's way easier to understand the majority of Americans and that's where the Thai classrooms should be included in any further analyses or discussion. It's about the students and not about foreigners who like to live here or any backpackers who want to make some fast travel money to continue their tour.

    One day at a seminar conducted at an agency I had to play a student and a new teacher taught a group of us. The guy really mumbled in a way that he wasn't understandable and said things like:

    Did ya have Fiunn? Oh my god, you really needed a lot of fantasy to "read between the lines" that he wanted to say fun, but there's no way for him to change his speech and he could in no way adjust.

    Even when I told him twice: "teacher, I no understand"... (None in our group understood him), he got nervous and then totally insecure. What some M 6 students would do with him is easy to predict. Then the next group started......

    Considering that the same guy was sent to a high school immediately materializing into an English teacher the next day was a scary thought. No idea if his students ever had Fiunn enough to follow him.

    I've met quite a few Germans, Swiss guys and Austrians in Thailand who horribly failed in their mother tongue. The wrong article ( German with it's its... ,der,die das) , the wrong sentence structure and some other huge mistakes weren't funny at all to listen to.

    Let's just assume that most countries do have such people who never went to school for a longer period of time and who'd never qualify as a teacher of English in Asia, Europe, or elsewhere.

    And I tend to believe that these days not the wealthy, or middle-class foreigners go to Thailand and try to find a way to teach English. I sat at the market with my wife a few days ago and picked up some words by two men who're teachers working for an agency in town.

    My 10-year-old "Luk Krueng" student I'm tutoring on Saturdays speaks a much better English than the two guys did. Even my wife was wondering that both were English teachers because she also picked up some wrong English, spoken with a terrible accent. I never speak Pidgin English with her.

    But they really did fit into the raster being young and were good looking, which sometimes seems to be enough to be hired.

    I really love this part: “The native English speaker… is the only one who might not feel the need to accommodate or adapt to the others.”

    That's exactly what I've seen quite often in a Thai classroom where not even the brighter kids could understand their mostly by agencies sent teachers.

    And the victims are as usual the kids. But the show must go on............Cheers- BF.-:smile





     
  7. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    What's a herd of V 1/2 ? Sounds dangerous to me....just kidding..:smiling
     
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  8. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Sirchai, my post was heavily seasoned with irony. Longer term members will be well aware of my opinion that just being a NES does not a teacher make.
     
  9. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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  10. Templeton

    Templeton Member

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    Yes, exactly. Stupid Phine! I mean phone!
     
  11. SageAdvice

    SageAdvice Well-Known Member

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    Then perhaps that native speaker should look for another line of work: accommodating and adapting are fundamental to classroom instruction...unless, of course, rote "learning" is the only methodology on offer. Please: don't get me started.:smiling
     
  12. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    I really love this part: “The native English speaker… is the only one who might not feel the need to accommodate or adapt to the others.”

    "Please don't get me started" because I liked a part of the BBC's message? Ignorance pure.

    Have you even read the article?

    BBC - Capital - Native English speakers are the world’s worst communicators









     
  13. SageAdvice

    SageAdvice Well-Known Member

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    No, because I'm agreeing with the article (though the headline sucks)...I saw this when it was first published and have enough of my own anecdotes to corroborate the story.
     
  14. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    I'll quote myself from the other day. The article, which I have read is the above quote and I suppose you can apply to the world of teaching thus the 'However ...'. But then if you try I suppose you can apply anything to English teaching.

    Thus Sage, yes you can argue ....
    ....But then the article isn't about that, but then I suppose again. Oh well, time for a Chang.
     
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  15. SageAdvice

    SageAdvice Well-Known Member

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    well argued! :smiling
     

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