Reexamining the NS and NNS Dichotomy in Taiwanese Higher EFL Education

Fan Wei Kung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The globalization trend has raised various issues in the field of English language teaching (ELT) for both language teachers and learners (Norton, TESOL Quarterly 31(3):409–429, 1997). Since the reality of English as an international language (EIL) has started to emerge, the traditional native speaker (NS) and non-native speaker (NNS) dichotomy has been called to be reexamined (Mckay, International Journal of Applied Linguistics 13(1):1–22, 2003). While it is believed that parents generally prefer NS teachers when it comes to language teaching since they provide the target model for language learning (Harmer, The practice of English language teaching, Longman, London 1991; Kachru, The other tongue: English across cultures, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1992; Oladejo, Bilingual Research Journal 30(1):147–170, 2006), high-level language learners have not been explored so far in Taiwanese tertiary English as a foreign language (EFL) education. Hence, the aim of this study was to reexamine the preference, perceptions, and attitudes toward NS and NNS teachers of Taiwanese advanced EFL learners. The data were collected qualitatively from 30 English majors at three top-rated universities in Taiwan including two semistructured interviews and an open-ended questionnaire for each participant. The results revealed that no particular preference was shown, but one important factor was found to make NS and NNS teachers different. Students were not only discovered to be aware of the pros and cons of both NS and NNS teachers’ teaching at tertiary level, but in the end, value NNS teachers more for the awareness of EIL that they have developed over the years. This article argues that instead of treasuring the NS model fervently, it is crucial for language learners to develop thorough and adaptive comprehension competence. This article concludes with several pedagogical implications for ELT professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalAsia-Pacific Education Researcher
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes
  • EIL
  • NS and NNS dichotomy
  • Perceptions
  • Preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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