Introduce ourselves...combination of personal experience and research interest...we’ve taken advantage of such privilege
In a survey of 600 students and teachers from a number of countries, Timmis (2002) found that students very much preferred the native speaker norm, even as teachers more involved in the ELT profession were moving away from this.Rubin, 1992: Playing the same recordings connected to different pictures, he discovered that listening comprehension lessened when an instructor was visually identified as Asian, even though the same recording was used when students were shown a picture of a Caucasian instructor (p. 519).
Visual and textual...especially with rise of electronic, online discourse.
ELT Recruitment Websites,
Whiteness, and Inner-Circle
Ownership of English
Department of English
University of New Mexico
Research Questions and Background
Framework: Critical Discourse Analysis
Hess Language Institute
What characteristics are commonly attributed to the
ideal candidate? Are individuals excluded explicitly or
What benefits are emphasized to prospective English
What characteristics are attributed to target teaching
Native speakerism: “an established belief that
‘native-speaker’ teachers represent a ‘Western
culture’ from which spring the ideals both of the
English language and of English language teaching
methodology’’ (Holliday, 2006, p. 6).
Native Speaker Privilege
A few studies on recruitment discourses
38 ads from TESOL Career Center and 211 from Dave’s ESL
60.5% of TESOL ads and 74.4% of Dave’s ESL ads had NES
Other requirements: variety of English, location of degree
A few studies on recruitment discourses
Lengeling and Pablo (2012)
Analyzed 39 ELT recruitment documents, mostly from
NES consistent requirement
Other characteristics: ideal teacher young, English is easy
to teach and learn, and that teachers are able to teach in
beautiful and exciting places.
Characteristics of CDA:
Uncovers the ways in which discourses create/recreate
power hierarchies in society
Recognizes that micro interactions reproduce macro
Can focus on both visual and textual
Can focus on sentence level or more broadly on larger
sections of discourse
Fairclough, 1993; 2010
Google search terms: teach English, teach abroad, teach
EFL, english schools [name of country], teach English
The site was in English, meaning it was targeted towards
The site was a recruitment space for specific schools or
programs, often partnered with a TEFL certification program,
not a repository of freely posted ELT ads (e.g. Dave’s ESL
The selected sites recruited for teaching jobs in China, Japan,
Korea, Taiwan, or Thailand.
Assembling the Corpus
59 sites selected for analysis:
7 TEFL certification sites
6 global recruitment sites
7 sites oriented towards cultural exchange/gap year
5 school sites recruiting for multiple countries
15 Korean-specific recruitment/school sites
5 Taiwan-specific recruitment/school sites
8 Japan-specific recruitment/school sites
6 China-specific recruitment/school sites
Assembling the Corpus
Based on a preliminary review conducted separately,
we developed a list of topoi:
Developed a matrix with 20 characteristics centered
around these 4 areas.
Completed with the help of WebCorp, a web corpus
NES requirement on 81% of sites
“WE DO NOT ACCEPT APPLICATIONS FROM NON-
NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS AND THOSE NOT RESIDENT
IN JAPAN” (capitalization in original) (Modern English,
“Please also note that it is a requirement from our
partner school for you to be native English speaking”
Overall Trends – NES
“Those who are not native speakers, must display
greater qualifications for teaching English then a native
speaker, and/or have met with us for personal
interviews. A non-native will be scrutinized more before
being employed, but once employed they are judged by
their ability and their customer's satisfaction just as any
other teacher is. We would rather have a non-native
teacher who can inspire enthusiastic learning (and
spending), than a native speaker who dulls the
enthusiasm of our clients.” (Heart English School,
Overall – NES (cont.)
Immigration Requirements: Passport from U.S.
Canada, Ireland, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and
“We seem to get a high amount of applicants from
the Philippines. While we appreciate your
enthusiasm, we cannot change the rules of the
Korean Immigration department.” (Asknow.ca)
Overall Trends – Country of Origin
Helped assess the “right candidate”
“If you look old, grey haired, bald, or tired looking, then
job offers will be minimal. It does not seem to matter to
employers that you were highly qualified or have
excellent previous teaching experience” (Teachkoreanz).
“As mentioned elsewhere, it is difficult for non-
Caucasian people to find employment teaching in Korea.
There is an image that most schools have in their head
of who they want to hire” (Asknow.ca).
Overall Trends - Appearance
85% sites had degree requirement, typically from any
14% required related experience
31% emphasized no experience needed
Enthusiastic on 83% of sites
“teachers should be open minded, flexible, positive,
enthusiastic and have a passion for teaching.”
Overall Trends –
“A Teacher’s Life” video
Focus on recruit’s needs rather than institutional
“If you are new, you will like. . .”
“If you have a desire to teach English abroad. . .”
References to travel and pleasure
“Ticket to travel”
TEFL Heaven— Images
176 Images from the site:
12 of local people of individual training participants
13 of individual training participants
15 of individual or groups of teachers
21 of individual or groups of students
49 of teachers and students together
66 of participants having fun/ generic images of sites,
Catering to inexperienced teachers: “We pick you up
from the airport, provide complimentary hotel
accommodation, and guide you through more than 70
hours of theory and practicum training before you
Exotic travel lifestyle: life “filled with fireworks, kung
fu, red lanterns, karaoke, hot springs, pushcart
vendors, tai chi, fried rice, cute kids.”
Hess: Marketing Discourse
Colonization of education by marketing discourse
Flashiness of advertisements
Students as consumers
Whiteness as “cash value” (Lipsitz, 2006)
Country requirements, exclusion of places like India,
Exchange value: travel, accommodation, salary, job
Exoticization of cultures
Decentralize white and native speaker normativity in
Engage in critical discourse analysis
Read about and discuss white/native speaker privilege
Native and nonnative speakers should work together
Harness native-speaker/white privilege to make
institutions question their practice
A Few Recommendations
Butler, Y. G. (2007). How are nonnative-English-speaking teachers perceived by young
learners? TESOL Quarterly, 41(4), 731–755.
Canagarajah, S. (1999). Interrogating the ‘‘native speaker fallacy’’: Non-linguistic roots,
non-pedagogical results. In G. Braine (Ed.), Nonnative educators in English language
teaching (pp. 77–92). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum As- sociates.
Fairclough, N. (1993). Critical discourse analysis and the marketization of public discourse:
The universities. Discourse & Society, 4(2), 133-168.
Fairclough, N. (2010). Critical discourse analysis: The critical study of language. New York:
Holliday, A. (2005). The struggle to teach English as an international language. Oxford,
England: Oxford University Press.
Thomas, J. (1999). Voices form the periphery: Non-native teachers and issues of
credibility. In G. Braine (Ed.), Non-native Educators in English Language Teaching (pp. 5-13).
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Kubota, R., & Lin, A. (2006). Race and TESOL: Introduction to concepts and theories.
TESOL Quarterly, 40(3), 471–493.
Lengling, M. & Pablo, I. M. (2012) A critical discourse analysis of advertisements:
inconsistencies of our EFL profession. In R. Roux, A. M. Vázquez, and N. P. T. Guzmán
(Eds.) Research in English language teaching: Mexican perspectives (pp. 91-??).
Lipsitz, G. (2006). The possessive investment in whiteness: How white people profit from
identity politics. Temple University Press.
Ruecker, T. (2011). Challenging the native and non-native English speaker hierarchy in ELT:
New directions from race theory. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 8(4), 400-422.
Rubin, D. L. (1992). Nonlanguage factors affecting undergraduates’ judgments of
nonnative English-speaking teaching assistants. Research in Higher Education, 33(4), 511–
Selvi, A. F. (2010). All teachers are equal, but some teachers are more equal than others.
WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review, 1, 156-181.
Shuck, G. (2006). Racializing the nonnative English speaker. Journal of Language,
Identity, and Education, 5(4), 259–276.
Timmis, I. (2002). Native-speaker norms and international English: A classroom view. ELT
Journal, 56(3), 240–249.
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