Why do some places only hire Native Speakers?

The native speaker debate is one of the most contentious and troubling debates in the industry of teaching English as a foreign language. Many places hire only native speakers or advertise insisting native speakers only. This is because it is thought that only by being a speaker of English as a you first language will you have the requisite communicative ability and insight into the language. This neglects the fact that some people are raised bilingually, or learn English from such an early age and so effectively that they are on par with native speakers in terms of ability and competence. It also assumes that this level of ability is required to teach English which it may or may not be.

On the other side of the fence, some people argue that only native speakers are capable of teaching English the correct way, and otherwise non-native speakers might teach incorrect English to the students. This can often be based on negative experiences students have had in the past with teachers, and partly based on attitudes to language which may not necessarily be correct.

Another contentious issue is what constitutes a native speaker – for example, what variety of English they spoke, their citizenship, and otherwise. There is also difficulty in assessing what exact variety of English is considered – many nations and communities have different varieties of English which sound rather different to one another.

Wherever you sit on the fence, the native speaker debate is very complex and has many angles.