The native speaker still has a privileged position in English language teaching, representing both the model speaker and the ideal teacher. Non-native-speaker teachers of English are often perceived as having a lower status than their native-speaking counterparts, and have been shown to face discriminatory attitudes when applying for teaching jobs. To date, research into the employment of non-native-speaker teachers has been carried out only in the United States; this study extends that research by providing data on the United Kingdom. Questionnaires were distributed to those responsible for recruitment at English language teaching institutions in the UK in order to investigate the extent to which employers regard being a native English speaker as an important criterion when making hiring decisions. 72.3% of the 90 respondents judged the 'native English speaker criterion' to be either moderately or very important. The conclusion that employers regard this criterion as important was shown to apply to the whole sample as well as to the separate groups of private language schools only and universities only. As a pre-interview criterion, the 'native English speaker criterion' thus excludes competent English language teachers from consideration in the recruitment process. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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