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Title: The employment of native and non-native speaker EFL teachers in Saudi higher education institutions : programme administrators' perspective
Author: Alenazi, Oudah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 8146
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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Recently, issues relating to Non-Native English Speaker Teachers (NNESTs) have been gaining considerable attention in English Language Teaching (ELT), in particular those of their employability and the hiring practices of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) programme administrators. The employability of NNESTs and the challenges they face in the US and the UK have been explored in the literature. It has been found that Native English Speaker Teachers (NESTs) are preferred over NNESTs, since they are perceived as model speakers and ideal English teachers. NNESTs are often perceived as having a lower status in the profession, and researchers have found that as a result of this they often face discriminatory attitudes when applying for teaching positions. It has also been found that when more importance is given to ‘native speakership’ as a hiring criterion, NNESTs have a smaller chance of being employed. The hiring of EFL/ESL teachers in EFL contexts has not yet received any attention in the applied linguistics literature, however. The aim of this study is therefore to fill this gap by exploring the issue of NNESTs’ employability in Saudi Arabia, by (1) evaluating the criteria used in hiring processes, (2) investigating whether the status of applicants as NESTs/NNESTs affects their employment opportunities, and (3) investigating whether less qualified NESTs are preferred over more qualified NNESTs. The study surveyed 56 Saudi recruiters, using a mixed methods approach which included a listening task, a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. It was reported by the recruiters that, in descending order of importance, the academic qualifications, teaching experience, native English speaker status (NES), nationality and accents of the applicants were adopted as hiring criteria. However, the participants’ actual hiring practices revealed that being a native speaker superseded qualifications in importance. As in previous research, it was found in this study that the more importance recruiters assigned to the NES criterion, the smaller the chance of employment for NNESTs. Furthermore, applicants’ nationality and accent had similar effects. Finally, the study found that many programme administrators either directly or indirectly expressed a preference to employ NESTs even if they were less qualified than NNESTs. One of the main conclusions drawn from this study is that there is a need to promote the importance of the academic qualifications, teaching experience and training of both native and non-native speaker teachers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available