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Influence of Teacher-Contact Time and Other Variables on ESL Students Attitudes Towards Native- and Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers

LUCIE MOUSSU
University of Alberta Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Although several studies have been conducted that investigated the attitudes of English as a second language (ESL) students towards their nonnative-English-speaking (NNES) ESL teachers, few scholars have explored the influence of teacher-contact time and other relevant variables on students responses. This article reports on a study conducted in 22 intensive English programs throughout the United States, which compared students attitudes towards both their native- and nonnativeEnglish-speaking (NES and NNES) ESL teachers at the beginning and at the end of a given semester. This study also investigated whether variables such as students first languages, English proficiency level, and expected grades influence their answers. Results show that students attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers were sometimes unexpectedly positive but could also be predictably negative in some instances. Additionally, some variables such as the students first language significantly influenced their attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers. Finally, students attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers changed over time. These results suggest that the linguistic background of ESL teachers is only one among numerous variables influencing students attitudes towards their teachers. Consequently, English proficiency and teaching skills should no longer be defined by the ambiguous notion of native versus nonnative speaker but, instead, should take into consideration the multilayered context in which the teaching is taking place. doi: 10.5054/tq.2010.235997

t is not uncommon to find English-teaching job ads that state, native English speakers only may apply (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2006). Indeed, the status of native speakers of English is prestigious, and many English language schools proudly advertise that they only hire native-English-speaking (NES) teachers. Mahboobs (2003) study of 122

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intensive English programs (IEPs) in the United States shows that only 7.9% of the English as a second language (ESL) instructors in the surveyed IEPs were nonnative-English-speaking (NNES) teachers. Mahboob also found that 59.8% of the program administrators who responded to his survey used the native speaker criterion as their major decisive factor in hiring ESL teachers. One reason for this decision was that several administrators believed only NES ESL teachers could be proficient in English and, therefore, qualified teachers. In contrast, as many as 40% of the teacher trainees in U.S. TESOL programs are NNES teachers (Liu, 1999; Llurda, 2005), who often pay large sums of money to be trained as ESL/English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers in the United States.1 As Mahboobs study showed, these student teachers will not easily find employment (either in the United States or in other countries) after graduation because of the perception that the ideal English teacher is a native speaker [of English] (Phillipson, 1992, p. 185). Several studies show, however, that ESL students attitudes towards NES and NNES ESL teachers do not always coincide with those of IEP administrators. At the same time, linguistic boundaries and definitions of the term native speaker have become blurred in todays increasingly multilingual society and globalized world (Canagarajah, 2005; Davies, 2003). The results of the present study, as well as the study by Kelch and Santana-Williamson (2002; in which 56 ESL students correctly identified tape-recorded native and nonnative speakers of English only 45% of the time), also suggested that ESL/EFL students may not always be able to identify who is a native speaker of English and who is not.

The Nonnative Speaker of English


The number of nonnative speakers of English worldwide is now greater than that of native speakers (Graddol, 2006). Likewise, the number of NNES ESL and EFL teachers has been larger than that of NES ESL and EFL teachers for several years (Canagarajah, 2005; Crystal, 2003; Prodromou, 2003). Still, the first articles regarding the differences between NES and NNES teachers were not published until the 1980s (Coppieters, 1987; Kresovich, 1988; Pride, 1981). Edge (1988), for example, advocated the importance of giving EFL students real models (i.e., NNES ESL teachers) who have learned to speak English well, as opposed to foreign models (i.e., NES ESL teachers) who, he felt, did not
1

The costs of a TESOL Master of Arts or Certificate vary across universities, but international students usually pay more than in-state students and are limited in the number of hours they can work while studying.

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share students cultural and emotional experiences (an idea later supported by Cook, 2005, and McKay, 2003). In the early 1990s, Medgyes (1992, 1994) thoroughly discussed nonnative speakers of English as ESL and EFL teachers, arguing that both native and nonnative speakers of English could be successful ESL/ EFL teachers. According to Medgyes, NNES ESL teachers (1) offer a good learner model to their students; (2) can teach language strategies very effectively; (3) are able to provide more information about the language to their students than native speakers of English; (4) understand their students challenges and needs; (5) are able to anticipate and predict language difficulties; and (6) can (in EFL settings) use the students native language to their advantage. In his description of English teaching in Sweden, Modiano (2005) emphasized the importance of the NNES ESL teachers in EFL contexts. He explained that, in a world where globalization is spreading rapidly, students should learn an international variety of English (i.e., English as a lingua franca). Thanks to NNES ESL teachers, Modiano explained, students learn more about how English operates in a diverse number of nation states so that they can gain a better understanding of the wide range of English language usage (p. 40). Indeed, learners of English face a world where the economy, educational reforms, politics, culture, and societies are shaped by their knowledge (or lack thereof) of the multiple varieties of Englishes. Words, expressions, accents, sociolinguistic rules, and even grammatical rules are increasingly transformed and adjusted to fit different contexts, a diversity that NNES ESL teachers naturally bring to the classroom (Seidlhofer, 1999).

Teacher Self-Perceptions
Several scholars investigated how NNES ESL and EFL teachers perceived their own strengths, weaknesses, and educational and professional experiences. Both Greis (1984) and Medgyes (1994) expressed their concern for teachers who, in spite of their education and experience, still feel much anxiety in front of students or colleagues. Reves and Medgyes (1994) studied NNES ESL teachers self-esteem and concluded that the perpetual fear of their students judgments made the teachers overly self-conscious about their mistakes. Although it seems acceptable for NES ESL teachers to make occasional mistakes or not to know everything about the English language (Amin, 2004), NNES ESL teachers teaching abilities and competencies are often questioned when they make the same mistakes or appear hesitant (Canagarajah, 1999, 2005).

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Samimy and Brutt-Giffler (1999) asked 17 NNES TESOL graduate students how they perceived themselves as future NNES teachers. The respondents noted that it was difficult for them to feel qualified and appreciated in an ESL context, where their competencies were often questioned, and that they felt more valued and respected when teaching in their own countries. Similarly, the NNES ESL teachers in Maums (2003) study (conducted in the K12 context) expressed considerable frustration about their isolation and marginalization in the profession (p. 162), whereas the participating NES ESL teachers were not aware of any discrimination taking place against NNES ESL teachers. Amin (2004) interviewed eight women speaking different varieties of English (e.g., Indian English), who had taught or were teaching adult ESL in Canada, in order to investigate the construct of nativism (p. 63). These women believed that only Caucasian teachers could be native speakers of English, and only native speakers of North American English could know real and proper English. Alternatively, Lius (1999) participating international faculty members revealed that, occasionally, they had difficulty defining themselves as native or nonnative speakers of English and that their own definitions did not always match those of their colleagues and students.

Student Attitudes
Although ESL and EFL students have been learning from and working with NNES ESL teachers for a number of years, only a few studies have directly investigated students opinions and attitudes regarding their teachers. I conducted one of the earliest studies of ESL students attitudes towards NNES ESL teachers (Moussu, 2002). Ninety-seven ESL students taught by NNES teachers answered questionnaires at the beginning and end of a semester. Results showed that teachers and students first language (and, by extension, culture and educational traditions in their own countries) made a significant difference in how teachers were perceived. For example, Korean students held significantly more negative attitudes towards NNES ESL teachers than did Spanish students. Length of exposure to their teachers proved to be a key variable too, and students attitudes towards their NNES ESL teachers were significantly more positive at the end of the semester. Also in 2002, Cheung investigated the attitudes of 420 Hong Kong university students. Her participants recognized NES EFL teachers language proficiency, fluency, and cultural knowledge, while acknowledging NNES EFL teachers ability to empathize with students, understand their shared cultural background, and establish more rigorous
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standards. Participants also agreed that professional skills (such as knowledge of the subject, preparation, and ability to motivate students) were more essential than language skills. Around the same time, but back in the United States, Mahboob (2003) asked 32 ESL students to write about their NES and NNES teachers. His results showed that NNES ESL teachers were commended for their experience as ESL learners, knowledge of grammar, stricter methodology, hard work, and ability to answer questions, but criticized for poorer oral skills and lack of cultural knowledge. NES ESL teachers, meanwhile, were praised for their oral skills and cultural knowledge, but criticized for their poor knowledge of grammar, lack of experience as ESL learners, and sometimes mediocre teaching methodology. It thus appears that the native speaker construct, the belief that only native speakers can be ideal teachers of English, is unsupported. Despite popular belief, NNES ESL/EFL teachers can be successful teachers. However, new NNES TESOL students graduate each year and encounter job advertisements that clearly discriminate against NNES ESL teachers. Consequently, the current study critically and explicitly examines ESL students attitudes in order to substantiate or invalidate the basic assumptions underlying discrimination against NNES ESL teachers.

Theoretical and Conceptual Framework, and Research Questions


Before instruments could be devised, a theoretical framework was adopted as a foundation for the analyses that would be performed and the instruments that would be used (Nunan, 1992). Because this study investigated students attitudes towards NES and NNES ESL teachers, it was crucial to gain an in-depth understanding of attitudes before attempting to measure them. Eagly and Chaiken (1993) defined attitude as a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor (p. 1). According to Wegener and Fabrigars (2003) definition of attitude, the students in my study would thus assign memories and emotions to the concept of NES and NNES ESL teachers (affect), have specific beliefs about the characteristics of NES and NNES ESL teachers (cognition), and subsequently act in certain ways towards NES and NNES ESL teachers (behavior). In addition, all speakers and learners of a language make evaluations about (i.e., hold attitudes towards) linguistic superiority or inferiority, aesthetic preferences and differences (accents, etc.), and social conventions and connotations (Alford & Strother, 1990; Edwards, 1982).

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Albarracin, Johnson, and Zanna (2005) explained that behaviors can be overt or covert, and interact with knowledge, memories, and affect to create attitudes that may not always be stable and constant over time. For example, students hearing the words nonnative teachers might recall negative comments they have recently heard from friends (the automatic activation phase). Their immediate evaluation of NNES ESL teachers will thus be negative. However, they might then recall a muchloved high school English teacher who was a NNES ESL teacher (the deliberation phase), and their evaluation of NNES ESL teachers would then become more positive. The response they would write on a survey about NNES ESL teachers would be a final evaluation based on all the memories and emotions they recalled (the response phase), as well as the choices available on the survey (agree, disagree, not sure, etc.), the students interpretation of those choices, and the translation of their attitudes towards NNES ESL teachers into a response fitting the surveys response format (Krosnick, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2005). The intent of this project is thus to (a) identify which emotions, memories, and characteristics are assigned to the concept of NES and NNES ESL teachers (i.e., students attitudes towards NES and NNES ESL teachers); (b) analyze how students accumulate new memories, create new beliefs, and change their attitudes over time (i.e., the influence of time on students attitudes); and (c) study the underlying beliefs, knowledge, memories, and resulting behaviors of students which generated the responses given on the attitude questionnaires (i.e., variables that may influence students perceptions of NES and NNES ESL teachers). Based on the above literature and theoretical frameworks, this research project was guided by three research questions:
1. What are the attitudes at the beginning of the semester of ESL students towards NES and NNES ESL teachers? 2. What teacher and student variables (first language, etc.) influence ESL students attitudes towards NES and NNES ESL teachers? 3. Does length of exposure to their ESL teachers influence students attitudes towards NES and NNES ESL teachers?

METHODS Instruments
The problem investigated in this study is multifaceted and takes into consideration several variables identified in the literature review. A multivariate design was chosen to take into consideration such a large spectrum of naturally occurring and sometimes nonmanipulable
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variables, to explore the relationships between these relevant variables, and to study the interrelationship of many variables at the same time (Hatch & Lazaraton, 1991). Richards and Lockhart (1994) explained that survey questionnaires are useful to gather information about affective dimensions of teaching and learning, such as beliefs, attitudes, motivations, and preferences (p. 10). Krosnick et al. (2005) and Brown (2001) observed that using Likert scales can lead to a high reliability and validity of the measurement of attitudes, as long as careful attention is given to the theoretical issues used to create the items and the rating scale. Additionally, using a questionnaire with specific multiple-choice questions and statements to rate on a Likert scale provides the participants with a single frame of reference when choosing their answers (Schuman & Presser, 1996). Questionnaires are ideal for another reason as well: When working with students with varied levels of English proficiency and linguistic backgrounds, questionnaires can be easily translated so that the great majority of the students can understand the questions and respond accordingly. To create the questionnaire, eight teacher and student constructs (such as pronunciation, grammar knowledge, and physical appearance) were first identified from the literature review (Brown, 2001; Purpura, 1998), and several statements for each construct were written or adapted from previous studies. The constructs and 75 statements were then sent to a group of scholars in the fields of applied linguistics, statistics, and psychology, who considered issues of significance, validity of the constructs, content validity, clarity of the beliefs and statements, and overall organization of the questionnaire. Finally, two pilots were conducted, and, informed by measurements of validity and reliability, the number of questions was narrowed down to 39.2 The questionnaire, which was going to be used both at the beginning and at the end of the semester, was divided into two sections (see Appendix A). The first section, about students ESL teachers, consisted of multiple-choice questions and statements to be rated on a five-point Likert scale (from 1 [strongly disagree] to 5 [strongly agree]). The second section used multiple-choice and short-answer questions to collect students demographic information. The questionnaire was translated (and then back-translated) by professional translators into 12 languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Taiwanese, Thai, and Turkish) to allow students
2

When calculated by construct on the final results, Cronbachs alphas revealed some low coefficients of reliability and a lingering imbalance in the construction of the questionnaire. For the construct meeting students expectations, Cronbachs alpha was 0. 909; simplification of concepts 0.841; teachers as good role model 0.758; physical appearance 0.258; grammar knowledge 0.768; pronunciation 0.294.

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of as many levels of English proficiency and linguistic backgrounds to participate as possible.

Procedures
For the pilots and full-scale studies, IEPs were chosen that adhered to the same educational standards and overall organization and were accredited by an institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This helped identify programs that were as comparable as possible in terms of the length of their semester and the division of levels of proficiency. Although 50 IEPs were initially identified and contacted, problems of attrition due essentially to difficulties in obtaining permissions from each IEPs IRB (Committee on the use of Human Research Subjects) resulted in only 22 IEPs participating in the full-scale study. In August 2005, these 22 IEPs received files that contained directions for the distribution and collection of the questionnaires, the English version of the questionnaire, the translations, and prestamped return envelopes. Four weeks later, 862 completed questionnaires had been received from 16 IEPs. In November, files were sent again to these 16 IEPs for the second phase of data collection. By January 2006, 643 completed questionnaires had been received from 12 IEPs. The approximate return rate for the initial questionnaire was 62.75% and 46.59% (counting the four IEPs whose students filled out the initial, but not the final, questionnaire). For reliability purposes, responses to the initial and final questionnaires were entered by two individuals and then compared. Once the errors were fixed, students responses were divided into three groups, depending on their teachers nativeness: if students had identified their teacher as a NES ESL teacher, their responses fell into the Native category; if they had identified their teacher as a NNES ESL teacher, their responses fell into the Nonnative category; if students didnt know if their teacher was a NES or a NNES ESL teacher, their responses fell into the Not Sure category.3 Using SPSS v.16, a range of descriptive and inferential statistics was calculated for each of these groups, and the data examined to assess normalcy.4 The significance level was set at 0.05, and an analysis of variance then determined to what extent the variations within the means could be attributed to different independent variables (first language,
3

Because of space limitation and the small number of respondents that fell into this category, responses from students in the Not Sure group are not discussed here. 4 For more information on a considerable amount of statistical results not discussed here, please contact the author.

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class subject, etc.). To account for the multiple comparison procedures performed on the data, Fishers LSD (least significant difference method) was applied. Finally, a t-test (paired samples) compared the initial and final responses for analysis of the influence of teacher-contact time on students attitudes.

Participants
Students and administrators from 22 IEPs in the United States participated. The participating groups of students were intact (Hatch & Lazaraton, 1991), that is, there was no random selection of participants done at any time of the project, and there was no control group. There was also no attempt to do a stratified selection of participants. After eliminating any students who had partially completed or otherwise unusable questionnaires, a total of 804 students (46.7% males, 53.3% females) answered the initial questionnaire (at the beginning of the semester), and 643 students (48.5% males, 51.5% females) answered the final questionnaire (at the end of the semester).5 When asked about the class they were taking while responding to the questionnaires, a great majority of the students (80.9%) indicated that they were currently taught by a NES ESL teacher, 15% were taught by a NNES ESL teacher, and the remaining students were not sure if their teachers were NES or NNES ESL teachers. Languages spoken by the students who filled out the initial questionnaire included Korean (30.4%), Spanish (18.6%), Japanese (14.1%), Chinese (13.4%), Arabic (6%), and several other languages. Students also gave additional information about the level and subject as well as their expected grades in that course.

Limitations
The voluntary nature of the survey was one of its limitations: IEP administrators agreed (or not) to participate, then passed (or not) the information along to the ESL teachers, who then allowed (or not) their students to participate. Students also had the choice of filling out (or not filling out) their questionnaire. Another limitation of this study lies in the uneven number of participants in each group (beginners vs. intermediate, Korean vs. Arabic, etc.). The interpretation of the statistical results must therefore be cautious. Finally, although the large number of participants helped results to be relatively significant statistically, the results are not representative of all ESL students attitudes.
5

The students who answered the final questionnaire had also answered the initial questionnaire.

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RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Initial Attitudes Towards NES and NNES ESL Teachers
The first goal of this study was to investigate students attitudes towards NES and NNES ESL teachers at the beginning of the semester. Responses showed that, in general, students initial attitudes towards NES ESL teachers, with means ranging from 3.16 to 4.48 on the Likert scale (going from 1 [strongly disagree] to 5 [strongly agree]) appeared to be more positive than their attitudes towards NNES ESL teachers, with means ranging from 2.90 to 4.20. However, students attitudes towards NNES ESL teachers were generally positive too (which corroborates Moussu, 2002), and often not radically more negative than answers given by students taught by NES ESL teachers, as could have been expected (Table 1). Notable exceptions when ratings given by students in the nonnative group were significantly lower than ratings given by students in the native group included Q13 (My English teacher is a good example of the ideal English speaker), Q15 (My English teacher looks like a typical American person), Q18 (My English teacher rarely makes grammar mistakes when he/she speaks), and Q21 (The English pronunciation of my English teacher is good). Alternatively, responses of students in the nonnative group were sometimes more positive than responses of students in the native group, such as with Q19 (My English teacher explains grammar rules very clearly), Q25 (I can learn English just as well from a NONNATIVE English teacher as from a NATIVE English teacher), and Q26 (I dont care where my teacher is from, as long as he/she is a good teacher for me). Responses to Q25 and Q26, as well as to Q24 (Native English speakers make the best English teachers), also illustrate a recurring and central finding: In general, students taught by NNES ESL teachers seemed to have a significantly more positive attitude towards NNES ESL teachers than students taught by NES ESL teachers (Table 2). Several conclusions can be drawn from these initial results. First, the ESL students in this study did not systematically hold negative attitudes
TABLE 1 Responses to My English teacher is a good English teacher (Q4) at the Beginning of the Semester 95% Confidence interval Group Native Nonnative n 556 100 M 4.25 4.20 SD 0.77 0.73 SE 0.033 0.073 Lower bound 4.19 4.05 Upper bound 4.32 4.35

Note. M 5 mean; SD 5 standard deviation; SE 5 standard error; F 5 0.381; df 5 1; p 5 0.537 (N 5 656).

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TABLE 2 Responses to I can learn English just as well from a NONNATIVE English teacher as from a NATIVE English teacher (Q25) at the Beginning of the Semester 95% Confidence interval Group Native Nonnative n 637 117 M 3.17 3.65 SD 1.15 1.22 SE 0.046 0.113 Lower bound 3.08 3.43 Upper bound 3.26 3.87

Note. F 5 16.76; df 5 1; p 5 0.000 (N 5 785).

towards NNES ESL teachers, and, in several cases, responses given by students in the nonnative group are not significantly different from responses given by students in the native group. This seems to indicate that ESL students do not prefer NES ESL teachers over NNES ESL teachers in all cases. Second, students taught by NNES ESL teachers seemed less prejudiced against NNES ESL teachers in general than students not taught by NNES ESL teachers. This confirms findings by Rubin and Smith (1990) and Ma (1993) that previous exposure to international teachers increased students favorable reception of NNES teachers.

The Influence of Variables


The variables identified from the literature review and whose influence on students attitudes was examined in this study included students first languages, class subjects (grammar, reading, etc.), levels of English proficiency, and expected grades, as well as teachers countries of origin.6 All of these variables, except students levels of English proficiency, seemed to have strongly influenced students attitudes towards their teachers. It was hypothesized that the English proficiency level of the ESL students would strongly influence their attitudes towards NNES ESL teachers. Presumably, students at higher proficiency levels would want teachers with better (i.e., more authentic) accents and more extensive knowledge of North American culture. However, students at the advanced levels taught by NNES ESL teachers often seemed to hold slightly more positive attitudes towards their teachers than beginners in the same group. This finding could be explained by the fact that a student with a high English proficiency level might have had a larger number of English
6

It is acknowledged that numerous variables (such as personality, individual institutions, cultural backgrounds, etc.) could also influence students attitudes towards their teachers. These will be the object of future studies.

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teachers than a student just starting to learn the language and, consequently, a higher likelihood of exposure to NNES ESL teachers. However, this hypothesis cannot be confirmed, because no previous study has directly investigated the influence of ESL students levels of English proficiency on their attitudes. Students first languages, on the other hand, seemed to have a significant influence on their attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers, as was the case in previous studies (e.g., Moussu, 2002; Tang, 1997), although it proved difficult to compare groups of such uneven sizes. Overall, Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Chinese students held a less positive attitude towards NNES ESL teachers, but also towards NES ESL teachers, than students speaking other languages. In contrast, responses given by Portuguese, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish students often seemed to indicate positive attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers. These general trends can be observed in Table 3 below. Interestingly, it is difficult to separate first language and culture and to know if this acceptance of, or prejudice against NNES ESL teachers may have been influenced by a traditional view of language teachers in different countries. Class subject also seemed to have a significant influence on students answers, which corroborates Lius (1999) findings. For example, students in the native group tended to prefer their grammar class to other classes. Interestingly, the assumption that students would prefer NNES grammar teachers and NES teachers as listeningspeaking teachers was not confirmed by these results. Indeed, previous studies (see Cheung, 2002; Mahboob, 2003) had shown a clear preference by students for NES listeningspeaking teachers and a preference for NNES
TABLE 3 Responses to My English teacher knows the English grammar very well (Q16) by First Language Native Students first language Arabic Chinese French Japanese Korean Portuguese Spanish Thai Turkish Other 95% CI n 38 84 16 88 200 10 111 20 13 53 M 4.37 4.17 4.44 4.03 4.25 4.60 4.53 4.50 4.46 4.61 SD 0.942 0.916 0.629 0.890 0.818 0.699 0.711 0.607 0.660 0.595 SE 0.153 0.100 0.157 0.095 0.058 0.221 0.068 0.136 0.183 0.096 LB 4.06 3.97 4.10 3.85 4.13 4.17 4.40 4.22 4.06 4.41 UB 4.68 4.37 4.77 4.22 4.36 5.03 4.67 4.78 4.86 4.80 n 6 15 2 22 31 2 28 1 1 8 M 4.83 3.87 4.50 4.09 4.19 5.00 4.21 4.00 5.00 4.25 SD 0.408 1.187 . 0.868 0.946 0.000 0.833 . . 1.165 SE 0.167 0.307 . 0.185 0.170 0.000 0.157 . . Nonnative 95% CI LB 4.50 3.27 . 3.71 3.85 5.00 3.89 . . 3.44 UB 5.16 4.47 . 4.48 4.54 5.00 4.54 . .

Note. CI 5 confidence interval; LB 5 lower bound; UB 5 upper bound. Native: F 5 3.225; df 5 9; p 5 0.000 (N 5 633). Nonnative: F 5 0.833; df 5 9; p 5 0.587 (N 5 116).

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grammar teachers. Responses to Q10, for example (My English teacher is able to simplify difficult material so I can understand it), illustrated this unforeseen preference pattern (Table 4). Students expected grades was a variable that strongly influenced students attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers, although it is difficult to know if students expected a high grade because they liked their teacher, or if they liked their teacher because they believed they would receive a high grade. Whatever the case may be, the higher the expected grade, the more positive the attitudes of the students towards their teachers in both groups. Importantly, responses given by students in the nonnative group who were expecting an A were similar to, or even more positive than, responses given by students in the native group also expecting an A, as can be observed in Table 5. Teachers first language was another variable that strongly affected students responses, which corroborates my findings (Moussu, 2002).7 Surprisingly, it was found that not all teachers labeled as NES ESL teachers spoke English as their first language. Similarly, it appeared that some of the teachers labeled as NNES ESL teachers spoke English natively (Table 6). The reasons for these categorizations are unclear, but might have to do with the teachers appearance or accent (as discussed by Amin, 1997), as well as the way the teachers presented themselves to their students at the beginning of the semester (see Liu, 1999, for more about different perceptions of nonnativeness). These findings raise the question of defining the native speaker. The analysis of the first language variables effects on students attitudes showed that not all NES and NNES ESL teachers elicited
TABLE 4 Responses to My English teacher is able to simplify difficult material so I can understand it (Q10) by Class Subject Native Class subject Grammar L/S R/W Other 95% CI n 121 87 310 15 M 4.21 3.95 3.94 3.80 SD 0.729 0.914 1.009 0.775 SE 0.066 0.098 0.057 0.200 LB 4.08 3.76 3.82 3.41 UB 4.34 4.15 4.05 4.19 n 32 9 49 8 M 4.22 4.33 3.76 3.50 SD 0.906 0.500 1.195 1.013 SE 0.160 0.167 0.171 0.358 Nonnative 95% CI LB 3.89 4.00 3.43 2.80 UB 4.55 4.66 4.09 4.20

Note. L/S 5 listeningspeaking; R/W 5 readingwriting; Native: F 5 2.780; df 5 3; p 5 0.041 (N 5 633). Nonnative: F 5 2.405; df 5 3; p 5 0.072 (N 5 98).
7

Teachers speaking different varieties of Spanish were grouped into the Spanish category. Teachers speaking a North American variety of English were clustered into the American category, and teachers speaking other varieties of English (England, New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland) were clustered into the British category.

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TABLE 5 Responses to My English teacher explains grammar rules very clearly (Q19) by Expected Grades Native Students expected grade A B C D F 95% CI n 227 235 79 10 3 M 4.08 3.94 3.52 3.40 2.67 SD 0.866 1.024 1.174 0.577 0.928 SE 0.057 0.067 0.132 0.182 0.536 LB 3.98 3.82 3.26 3.04 1.62 UB 4.19 4.07 3.78 3.76 3.72 n 49 40 14 6 . M 4.41 3.98 3.79 3.00 . SD 0.866 0.974 1.122 0.632 . SE 0.124 0.154 0.300 0.258 . Nonnative 95% CI LB 3.89 3.66 3.20 2.49 . UB 4.39 4.29 4.38 3.51 .

Note. Native: F 5 8.350; df 5 4; p 5 0.000 (N 5 604). Nonnative: F 5 0.2.907; df 5 4; p 5 0.038 (N 5 109).

similar reactions. On the one hand, teachers of certain origins (e.g., those from Russia, Spanish-speaking countries, and the United States) seemed to be consistently appreciated by their students. On the other hand, teachers of other origins (e.g., those from China, and, interestingly, countries where other varieties of English are spoken) appeared to receive more negative responses. These results reveal the uselessness of classifying NNES ESL teachers as one homogeneous group and assigning strict attributes to all members of this group (Moussu & Llurda, 2008). As Samimy and Brutt-Giffler (1999) and Reves and Medgyes (1994) previously noted, and as this study confirmed, students attitudes towards their teachers did not necessarily show a relationship with nonnativeness. For example, students taught by NES ESL teachers who expected lower grades did not respond positively about their teachers
TABLE 6 Responses to I understand my English teachers pronunciation easily (Q22) by Teachers First Languages Native Teachers first language 95% CI n M 4.29 . 3.88 4.50 . 4.50 4.00 4.00 SD SE UB LB 4.36 . 4.18 . . 5.07 . . n 4 10 3 15 19 25 19 15 M 4.75 4.10 4.33 3.73 3.32 3.64 4.53 3.80 SD 0.500 0.738 0.577 1.223 1.057 1.114 0.697 1.265 SE 0.250 0.233 0.333 0.316 0.242 0.223 0.160 0.327 0.857 0.037 4.22 . . . 1.078 0.150 3.58 . . . . . . 0.577 0.289 3.93 . . . . . . Nonnative 95% CI LB 4.26 3.64 3.68 3.11 2.84 3.18 4.19 3.16 UB 5.24 4.56 4.98 4.35 3.80 4.10 4.86 4.44

American 550 Armenian . British 52 Portuguese 2 Chinese . Other 4 Russian 1 Spanish 2

Note. Native: F 5 2.163; df 5 5; p 5 0.057 (N 5 611). Nonnative: F 5 2.688; df 5 7; p 5 0.014 (N 5 110).

ATTITUDES TOWARDS NATIVE- AND NONNATIVE-ENGLISH-SPEAKING TEACHERS 759

in spite of their nativeness. Similarly, students taught by NNES ESL teachers who came from certain regions of the world showed positive attitudes towards their teachers in spite of their nonnativeness. As discussed in the next section, duration of exposure to their teachers also influenced students attitudes towards NES and NNES ESL teachers.

The Influence of Time


Overall, students attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers appeared to have changed by the end of the semester. The changes towards NNES ESL teachers, however, seemed to be more positive than the changes towards NES ESL teachers. In some instances, however, these changes were minimal. For example, although 79% of the students taught by NES ESL teachers and 74.4% of the students taught by NNES ESL teachers responded Yes to Q3 (Would you encourage a friend to take a class with this English teacher?) at the beginning of the semester, the changes were minimal, and 76.4% of the students taught by NES ESL teachers and 75% of the students taught by NNES ESL teachers responded Yes at the end of the semester. Similarly, 6.6% (students taught by NES ESL teachers) and 6.8% (students taught by NNES ESL teachers) answered No at the beginning of the semester; at the end of the semester, the numbers showed little change, with 7.8% (students taught by NES ESL teachers) and 6.3% (students taught by NNES ESL teachers) answering No.8 The trend that the attitude of students taught by NNES ESL teachers changed a little more strongly and positively than that of students taught by NES ESL teachers can be observed in many instances. However, the small number of participants in the nonnative group9 often did not allow the differences to emerge as statistically significant, as can be seen in Table 7, although the difference could be significant given a larger sample size. Responses to the two last statements on the Likert-scale section of the questionnaire, however, reflected particularly well the significant influence of teacher-contact time on students attitudes towards NNES ESL teachers. Responses to Q25 (I can learn English just as well from a NON-NATIVE English teacher as from a NATIVE English teacher), for example, show that, at the beginning of the semester, 14.76% of the
8

Interestingly, a post-hoc analysis of these results seemed to suggest an overall shift of attitude during the semester and that the students (in both groups) who said Yes (or No) at the beginning of the semester were not necessarily the same as the students who said Yes (or No) at the end of the semester. 9 To calculate the t-test, only the responses of students who answered both the initial and the final questionnaires were used.

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TABLE 7 Responses to I understand my English teachers pronunciation easily (Q22) at the Beginning and End of the Semester Native Semester Initial Final n 371 371 M 4.22 4.44 SD 0.916 0.817 SE 0.048 0.042 n 78 78 Nonnative M 3.87 4.07 SD 1.109 1.034 SE 0.126 0.117

Note. Native: t 5 24.290; df 5 370; p 5 0.000. Nonnative: t 5 21.730; df 5 77; p 5 0.088.

students taught by NES ESL teachers strongly agreed. By the end of the semester, that number had risen to 17.86% (an increase of 3.1%). At the same time, 29.06% of the students taught by NNES ESL teachers strongly agreed with the same statement at the beginning of the semester, whereas 42.02% strongly agreed by the end of the semester (an increase of 12.96%, and 24.16% more than students taught by NES ESL teachers). Table 8 shows these changes. The strengthening of students positive attitudes towards their NNES ESL teachers shows that the potential hesitation they might have felt about those teachers qualifications at the beginning of the semester almost disappeared with a full semester of exposure to a NNES ESL teacher in the classroom environment. These results suggest a number of interesting trends. First, students attitudes towards both their NES and NNES ESL teachers seem to be influenced not so much by the nativeness or nonnativeness of their teachers but possibly by individual teacher and student variables such as personality, individual experience and background, and pedagogical skills (although these variables were not specifically studied here). For example, students first language and expected grades influenced in similar ways their attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers, which suggest that the nativenonnative dichotomy is sometimes ineffective in predicting students opinions of their teachers. On the other hand, students attitudes towards teachers of different class
TABLE 8 Responses to I can learn English just as well from a NONNATIVE English teacher as from a NATIVE English teacher (Q25) at the Beginning and the End of the Semester Native Semester Initial Final n 373 373 M 3.17 3.33 SD 1.183 1.207 SE 0.061 0.063 n 79 79 Nonnative M 3.56 4.00 SD 1.268 1.068 SE 0.143 0.120

Note. Native: t 5 22.398; df 5 372; p 5 0.017. Nonnative: t 5 22.883; df 5 78; p 5 0.005.

ATTITUDES TOWARDS NATIVE- AND NONNATIVE-ENGLISH-SPEAKING TEACHERS 761

subjects (e.g., grammar or reading) and of different linguistic origins strongly indicate that assuming that all NES ESL teachers are alike and all NNES ESL teachers are alike is no longer defensible. Finally, the analysis of the influence of time and exposure to their teachers on students attitudes confirms that students negative or positive preconceptions towards NES and NNES ESL teachers are less predictable than previously believed. Furthermore, whatever expectations and preconceptions students may hold at the beginning of the semester, these initial attitudes are likely to change as a result of time and exposure to their teacher.

CONCLUSION
In 1992, Phillipson presented some of the issues surrounding the native speaker fallacy, that is, the belief that the ideal teacher is a native speaker (p. 185). A few years later, Canagarajah (1999) also explained how the notion of Native Speaker, as established by Chomsky (1986), had become obsolete, as an increasing number of people speak more than one language or more than one variety of a language. In 2005, Canagarajah reexamined the distinction between native and nonnative speakers. He concluded that this distinction simply did not apply anymore, not only because the concepts of native and nonnative have changed, but also because linguistic boundaries are no longer clear. As Canagarajah and several other scholars explained, English today is no longer owned and dominated by the traditional inner circle (Kachru, 1982) colonial powers, but rather by a multitude of speakers from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Judging teachers pedagogical and linguistic skills on a construct that can no longer be unmistakably defined thus seems unwise and, in light of students complex responses, misguided. The English proficiency of English teachers must be seen as a plural system that should no longer be defined by the ambiguous notion of native versus nonnative speakers but, instead, could use distinctions such as novice and expert teachers (Canagarajah, 2005, p. xxvii). As a result, a good teacher will no longer be identified by the obsolete and ill-defined native/nonnative model but ratherand onlyas a person who has mastered a combination of linguistic and pedagogical skills (Astor, 2000). An analysis of relevant variables (first languages, etc.) inherent in students responses to this study confirms these principles. Responses grouped by teachers first languages, for example, showed that ESL students classifications of native and nonnative speakers can seem fuzzy at times, and may not necessarily correspond to either the teachers own classification or a linguists classification of their nativeness or
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nonnativeness. However, additional studies are needed to confirm or refute this fuzziness that Lius (1999) participants also noted about (self)-classifications of (non)nativeness. The analysis of the influence of different variables on students attitudes also provided some interesting insights into the complex question of what makes a teacher a good teacher. Results demonstrated that the participating students could appreciate both NES and NNES ESL teachers and in a variety of teaching contexts, but also that some groups of students could hold negative attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers. Indeed, students attitudes towards NES ESL teachers were not always as positive as some IEP administrators may have believed (Mahboob, 2003). Students responses also suggested that their attitudes towards NES and NNES ESL teachers were not as significantly different as might have been expected and did not become significantly more positive or negative over time. As a consequence, by the end of the semester, attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers had remained overall positive and constructive. In spite of the many limitations of this study, its results may help both ESL/EFL teachers and language program administrators to respond to students doubts and prejudices against NNES ESL teachers. These results may also inspire teacher preparation programs and student teachers to rethink the conventional notions and definitions of the native speaker and the good teacher. It is hoped that future studies will be conducted to investigate further the preconceptions and realities of ESL and EFL teaching. A better understanding of students motivations for learning English, their expectations of what constitutes a good teacher, and their experiences with NES and NNES ESL teachers in different contexts can inform and enrich the learning experience of ESL/EFL students, the teacher training programs for future ESL/EFL teachers, and the pedagogical and professional experiences of teacher educators, student teachers, ESL/EFL teachers, and language program administrators.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This study was generously funded by a dissertation grant from the TESOL International Research Foundation. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers as well as Aya Matsuda and Enric Llurda for their useful suggestions on previous drafts. Thank you also to the many participating students, teachers, and IEP administrators for their time, responses, and encouragements. A more thorough account of this research project can be found in my doctoral dissertation (Moussu, 2006).

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THE AUTHOR
Lucie Moussu is an Assistant Professor in Writing Studies at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada, and Director of the Centre for Writers. Her research interests include the advantages of NES and NNES ESL teachers, the Canadian bilingual context, writing center administration, and second language writing.

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Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Pride, J. (1981). Native competence and the bilingual/multilingual speaker. English World-Wide, 2, 141153. Prodromou, K. (2003). In search of the successful users of English: How a corpus of non-native speaker language could impact on EFL teaching. Modern English Teacher, 12, 514. Purpura, J. (1998). The development and construct validation of an instrument designed to investigate the selected cognitive background characteristics of test takers. In A. J. Kunnan (Ed.), Validation in language assessment (pp. 11130). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Reves, T., & Medgyes, P. (1994). The non-native English speaking EFL/ESL teachers self image: An international survey. System, 22, 353357. doi:10.1016/ 0346-251X(94)90021-3. Richards, J., & Lockhart, C. (1994). Reflective teaching in second language classrooms. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Rubin, D., & Smith, K. (1990). Effect of accent, ethnicity, and lecture topic on undergraduates perceptions of non-native English-speaking teachers. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14, 337353. doi:10.1016/01471767(90)90019-S. Samimy, K., & Brutt-Giffler, J. (1999). To be a native or non-native speaker: Perceptions of non-native students in a graduate TESOL program. In G. Braine (Ed.), Non-native educators in English language teaching (pp. 127144). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Schuman, H., & Presser, S. (1996). Question & answers in attitude surveys. London, England: SAGE Publications. Seidlhofer, B. (1999). Double standards: Teacher education in the expanding circle. World Englishes, 18, 233245. doi:10.1111/1467-971X.00136. Tang, C. (1997). On the power and status of non-native ESL teachers. TESOL Quarterly, 31, 577580. doi:10.2307/3587840. Wegener, D. T., & Fabrigar, L. R. (2003). Constructing and evaluating quantitative measures for social psychological research. In C. Sansone, C. C. Morf, & A. T. Panter (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of methods in social psychology (pp. 145172). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

APPENDIX A
Student Questionnaire The English version of the student questionnaire is provided here. Translations are available upon request. I. YOUR ENGLISH TEACHER. Please answer the following questions about your teacher in this class. 1. 2. What country is your English teacher from? ________________________ Your English teacher is (please put an X in the space corresponding to your answer):

- i. ____ a NATIVE speaker of English - ii. ____ a NON-NATIVE speaker of English - iii. ____ not sure
3. Would you encourage a friend to take a class with THIS English teacher? (a) ____ yes(b) ____ no(c) _____ not sure

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This is an example 4. My English teacher is a good English teacher 5. I would enjoy taking another class with this English teacher 6. I am learning a lot of English with this teacher 7. My English teacher is the kind of teacher I expected to have here 8. My English teacher is an ideal teacher for me 9. My English teacher explains difficult concepts well 10. My English teacher is able to simplify difficult material so I can understand it 11. My English teacher teaches in a manner that helps me learn 12. My English teacher motivates me to do my best to learn English 13. My English teacher is a good example of the ideal English speaker 14. My English teacher looks like a native speaker of English 15. My English teacher looks like a typical American person 16. My English teacher knows the English grammar very well 17. My English teacher rarely makes grammar mistakes when he/she writes 18. My English teacher rarely makes grammar mistakes when he/she speaks 19. My English teacher explains grammar rules very clearly 20. I understand what my English teacher is saying without a problem 21. The English pronunciation of my English teacher is good 22. I understand my English teachers pronunciation easily 23. English teachers should all speak with a perfect American accent 24. NATIVE English speakers make the best English teachers 25. I can learn English just as well from a NON-NATIVE English teacher as from a NATIVE English teacher 26. I dont care where my teacher is from, as long as he/she is a good teacher for me

1 strongly DISAGREE 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 Disagree 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 Not sure 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 Agree 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 strongly AGREE 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

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Please answer the following questions about YOUR ENGLISH TEACHER AND THIS CLASS by FILLING IN the numbers that correspond to your feelings, according to the following scale: 1: strongly DISAGREE 2: disagree 3: not sure 4: agree 5: strongly AGREE 27. What do you think makes a good English teacher? Please explain below. II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION. Please answer the following questions about yourself. 28. Name of country from where you came: _______________________ 29. Name of city/town/village where you were born: ________________________ 30. Birth date (day/month/year): ___________/_________/___________ 31. First language(s): _________________________________________ 32. Gender: (a) ____male(b) ____ female 33. Name of school/ IEP where you are studying right now: _______ 34. Subject of this class (grammar, reading, etc.): ____________________ 35. Level of this English course (please choose one option): (a) ____ beginner(b) ____ intermediate (c) ____ advanced 36. Including your current teacher, how many NATIVE English teachers have you had while learning English in the U.S.? _____________ how many NON-NATIVE English teachers have you had while learning English in the U.S.?__________ 37. Do you intend to leave the United States after you finish your studies in this school?(a) _ ___ yes(b) ____ no(c) ____ not sure 38. Your most important reason for learning English is (choose ONLY ONE answer): ____ to go to an English-speaking school or IEP ____ to get a better job in your country ____ to live in the U.S. ____ because English is very important in todays society ____ because you like the English language and culture very much ____ because you are a U.S. citizen or immigrant ____ for fun and personal pleasure ____ for other reasons (please explain): _____________________________ 39. The overall grade you expect to receive in this class is: ____ very high (A+, A, or A2) (90%100%) ____ high (B+, B, or B2) (80%89%) ____ average (C+, C, or C2) (70%79%) ____ low (D+ D, or D2) (60%69%) ____ fail (E or F) (below 60%)

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