Factors associated with the notion that native speakers are the ideal language teachers: An examination of elementary school teachers in Japan

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Yuko Goto Butler, University of Pennsylvania


Recently, there have been a number of studies focusing on the qualifications of native and nonnative language teachers. The notion that native speakers constitute the ideal language teachers appears to be widespread among teachers and students. This concept has been particularly influential in English teaching, although its validity has been questioned. This study aims to identify perceptional factors that are most likely to be associated with the notion held among many nonnative English-speaking teachers in East Asia that native English speakers are the ideal language teachers. This study focuses on Japanese elementary school teachers who have been asked to introduce English activities in their classes. Based on a detailed questionnaire, completed by 112 Japanese elementary school teachers, a number of perceptional factors were identified. These include: (a) their self-assessed English proficiency levels, (b) their attitudes towards nonstandard forms of English, and (c) their sense of pride in their own language and cultural heritage.