Native-speakerism in ELT: Plus ca change?

Waters, Alan (2007) Native-speakerism in ELT: Plus ca change? System, 35 (3). pp. 281-292. ISSN 0346-251X

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In ELT, the over-representation of the “native-speaker” (NS) point of view at the expense of the “non-native-speaker” (NNS) one – “native-speakerism” – has long been a significant problem. However, this paper argues that the current main applied linguistics attempt to remedy the situation – the use of a “critical theory” (CT) approach – rather than bringing about true progress, simply perpetuates the status quo in a new guise, by substituting one kind of hegemony for another. The way in which this occurs with respect to a central area of the CT critique of native-speakerism – the proscription of generalisations by NSs about the cultural characteristics of NNSs – is therefore explored. It is shown that in the case in question, (i) insufficient empirical evidence is provided for claims made, and (ii), via a review of relevant literature, that an underdeveloped concept of stereotyping is employed. As a preferred means of trying to ameliorate native-speakerism in ELT, therefore, the case is outlined for the continued and increased use of more traditional (but still valuable) epistemological approaches.

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26 Feb 2008 14:05
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 18:26