Native and nonnative English-speaking teachers in Turkey: Teacher perceptions and student attitudes

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Education, Department of Foreign Language Education, Turkey

Approval Date: 2014




This study is aimed at investigating the existence of preferential attitudes towards native English speakers in the field of ELT, resulting in depreciation of nonnative English language teachers in the case of two high-ranking English-medium universities in Ankara, Turkey. The study involves detailed analysis of data collected from teachers and students of English through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The goal of the study is twofold: 1) Teachers’ self-perceptions regarding their identities as native versus nonnative English speakers and as local versus foreigner teachers in Turkey, as well as their views about the advantages and disadvantages of being a native (NEST) versus nonnative English-speaking teacher (NNEST). 2) Students’ perspectives about NESTs and NNESTs, their attitudes towards their current English teachers and their observations regarding their English teachers’ teaching style and language use. Analysis of data from teachers revealed a multifaceted and complex set of similarities and differences in NESTs and NNESTs’ self-perceptions and attitudes, mapping the contours of the teachers’ shared identities. Analysis of student responses demonstrated that their attitudes to English teachers are formed under the influence of various conditions, and their teacher’s native or nonnative English speaker’s identity is just one among a range of relevant factors potentially contributing to students’ attitudes towards their teacher, like, for instance, students’ level of English proficiency, expected grade, teacher’s communication skills, teaching style, and appearance. The study aims to enhance the general understanding of various issues related to native, local and expatriate nonnative English teaching professionals, to contribute to teacher empowerment by raising their awareness about their own advantages and disadvantages, and to improve collaboration between NESTs and NNESTs in the English language preparatory programs.