The Native Speaker Debate

Who’s the best teacher?  The native speaker debate.

While teaching English in Dominican Republic, I was surprised about the number of students who were excited about having a native English-speaking teacher.  At the same time, it was interesting how little our group of native English speakers knew about the rules and grammar of our own language in my English teaching course.  Have you ever thought, for example, about how there are three different sounds for regular verbs in the past?  The suffix -ed in worked, wanted, and learned are all different and there’s a reason why they’re different.  Who knew?

As an instructor of both English and Spanish, I have been thinking a lot lately about the advantages and disadvantages to native versus non-native language teachers.  Some language institutes only hire native speakers, but does that really mean native speakers or better teachers?