The novice, the native, and the nature of language teacher expertise

Ji Eun Shin*, David Kellogg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies of linguistic imperialism and native-speakerism in EFL have focused on political or social issues rather than actual classroom discourse. In contrast, in this study a broadly socio-cultural approach and transcript data are used to examine the teaching talk of one novice expatriate English teacher working in Korean primary-level EFL. Compared with a native Korean teacher, her language is simpler, in both exchange and utterance length, with fewer new content words and, surprisingly, more grammatical errors. While the children use less Korean with her, they also use less English. The authors hold that English language expertise might usefully be reconceptualized as a form of teaching expertise, rather than vice versa, and thus primary-level EFL may be considered a special case of primary teaching rather than EFL for young learners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-177
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Korea
  • Linguistic imperialism
  • Native speaker
  • Primary EFL
  • Vygotsky


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