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Influence of Teacher-Contact Time and Other Variables on ESL Students' Attitudes Towards Native- and Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers

LUCIE MOUSSU
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 44, No. 4 (December 2010), pp. 746-768
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27896762
Page Count: 23
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Influence of Teacher-Contact Time and Other Variables on ESL Students' Attitudes Towards Native- and Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers
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Abstract

Although several studies have been conducted that investigated the attitudes of English as a second language (ESL) students towards their nonnative-English-speaking (NNES) ESL teachers, few scholars have explored the influence of teacher-contact time and other relevant variables on students' responses. This article reports on a study conducted in 22 intensive English programs throughout the United States, which compared students' attitudes towards both their native- and nonnative-English-speaking (NES and NNES) ESL teachers at the beginning and at the end of a given semester. This study also investigated whether variables such as students' first languages, English proficiency level, and expected grades influence their answers. Results show that students' attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers were sometimes unexpectedly positive but could also be predictably negative in some instances. Additionally, some variables such as the students' first language significantly influenced their attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers. Finally, students' attitudes towards both NES and NNES ESL teachers changed over time. These results suggest that the linguistic background of ESL teachers is only one among numerous variables influencing students' attitudes towards their teachers. Consequently, English proficiency and teaching skills should no longer be defined by the ambiguous notion of native versus nonnative speaker but, instead, should take into consideration the multilayered context in which the teaching is taking place.

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