Advantages and Disadvantages of Native- and Nonnative-English-speaking Teachers

Student Perceptions in Hong Kong

Lai Ping Florence Ma*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    51 Citations (Scopus)


    The Native English Teachers (NETs) Scheme has been in place for over 20 years in secondary schools in Hong Kong and yet how students perceive these teachers is under-researched. This article reports a study which analyses student perceptions of the advantage and disadvantages of learning English from NETs and their non-native counterparts, local English teachers (LETs). Data were collected through semi-structured group interviews with 30 secondary students studying in three different schools in Hong Kong. Content data analysis was conducted, and main themes that emerged from interview transcripts were categorised. Results show that the perceived advantages of LETs include their proficiency in students' L1, their knowledge of students' learning difficulties, the ease students experience in understanding their teaching, and in communication. The perceived advantages of NETs are their good English proficiency and ability to facilitate student learning. The disadvantages of one category of teachers appear to be the reverse of the advantages of another. Data also show that some students experience anxiety when encountering NETs and tend to prefer certain teaching styles. This study has significant implications for classroom teaching practice and teacher professional development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)280-305
    Number of pages26
    JournalTESOL Quarterly
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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