Strengths and weaknesses of NESTs and NNESTs: Perceptions of NNESTs in Hong Kong

Lai Ping Florence Ma*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Since non-native English speaking teachers (NNESTs) are always compared with native English speaking teachers (NESTs) on linguistic grounds, their strengths and weaknesses as English teachers are worthy of investigation. This paper reports on a mixed methods study which examines the strengths and weaknesses of NNESTs and NESTs through the perceptions of NNESTs in Hong Kong. Data were collected through a questionnaire completed by 53 NNESTs teaching in secondary schools and three semi-structured individual interviews for the purpose of data triangulation. Findings show that NNESTs and NESTs are perceived to have distinctive linguistic, socio-cultural and pedagogical strengths and weaknesses. While NNESTs are thought to have strong pedagogical strengths, they have linguistic weaknesses. While NESTs are perceived to have strong linguistic strengths, they have pedagogical weaknesses. An interesting finding is that some of the perceived strengths and weaknesses are complementary. This paper has theoretical implications for language teacher expertise and practical suggestions for teacher preparation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalLinguistics and Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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