To stay or leave: a multiple-case study of the retention of native English-speaking teachers in Taiwan

Ting Fang, Li Yi Wang*, Tzu Bin Lin, Chia Kai Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The spread of English as a global language has contributed to the trend of recruiting native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) through government-funded schemes around the world, particularly in East Asia. In Taiwan, the NEST scheme has been recently expanded because of the national policy for a bilingual Taiwan in 2030. However, the NEST scheme in Taiwan has the strictest selection criteria and the least attractive incentives in the region. As these unfavorable conditions could affect the recruitment and effectiveness of the NEST scheme, this study explored the advantages and challenges perceived by NEST participants through in-depth interviews with 24 NESTs working in Taiwanese public schools to identify the factors that could influence their attrition and retention. It was found that most advantages were associated with the participants’ schools, such as the provision of resources and a sense of achievement, rather than from outside the schools. However, most of the perceived challenges also occurred inside the schools, such as the lack of collaboration with colleagues and class sizes. These findings suggested that the issues and agendas at the participating schools had the greatest influence on NEST decisions to stay or leave Taiwan. The implications for policymakers and school leaders are discussed and relevant suggestions are made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-340
Number of pages16
JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun


  • Native English-speaking teachers
  • Taiwan
  • Teacher attrition
  • Teacher retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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