by Higor Cavalcante

In our third talk of the day, our facilitator, Higor Cavalcante gave a brilliant, witty talk on deep issues of
FullSizeRender prejudice and avoidance that we need to address in our field of ELT. He drew on quotes from well-known authors and speakers in the field, such as David Crystal, Jeremy Harmer and Scott Thornbury, whom he described as “the boss, the Springsteen of ELT” ;), to tease out the idea of a general consensus on the fact that hiring policies for native and non-native speaker should be equal. To quote David Crystal:

If I were in charge of language teaching institution, I would want to know four things:
Are they fluent?
Are they intelligible?
Do they know-how to analyse language
Are they good teachers?

Higor then asked why it is that so many non-native speaker teachers are not represented at plenary-level talks, in high-profile events and so on. He also addressed the elephant in the room, which is language education for non-native English speaker teachers, why there are no language learning materials for teachers who need to work on their proficiency, to do the “vast and varied reading” as he described it and why this is somehow taboo?

“With great power comes great responsibility”
(Spiderman’s Uncle) Ben Parker

If you’re interested in reading more about it check out two spaces: Higor’s blog, and the TEFL Equity Advocates Page. The TDSIG proudly support the work of TEFL Equity Advocates, and you can read an conversation we had with its founder Marek Kiczkowiak, here.

For those of you going to Higor’s open space this afternoon, the question you need to think about is:
-Why don’t we talk about Language Development for Teachers
-Why are there 5 plenary speakers, and just one NNEST,
-Is it impossible for NNEST to attain a C2 level?
-What’s enough? What should be the goal? How can we improve?

It’s time to stop making a distinction based on birth and to start finding common cause based on fluency, knowledge of how languages are learned and the specific challenges presented by English, interest in language, and – last but not least – interest in people (Luke Meddings)