NNEST Newsletter

NNEST News, Volume 12:1 (June 2010)

by User Not Found | 10/27/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Editors’ Remarks
    • Letter From the Chair
  • Articles
    • How NNES Teachers Can Improve Their Language Skills
    • Recalling Episodes of Nonnative English Accents
    • The WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review
  • Announcements and Information
    • TESOL Awards and Grants
    • NNEST Resources
    • NNEST of the Month Blog
  • About This Community
    • About the Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL Interest Section (NNESTIS)
    • NNESTIS Newsletter Call for Submissions
    • NNESTIS Newsletter Call for Nominations for Editorial Volunteer Positions
    • NNESTIS Newsletter Mission Statement

Leadership Updates Editors’ Remarks

Rashi Jain, University of Maryland at College Park, jainrashi@yahoo.com (Editor)

Ana Wu, City College of San Francisco, anawu@ymail.com (Editorial Volunteer)

It is our great pleasure to introduce this issue of the NNESTIS Newsletter. We bid a warm adieu to Kyung-Hee Bae (past editor) and Lisya Seloni (past editorial volunteer) and have worked hard to match the high editorial standards set by them and other members of the past editorial teams.

The issue starts with a message from our current chair, Aiden Yeh. In her letter, Aiden reiterates the need for members to think ”glocally” and to be active participants in the efforts to reach out to the larger EFL/ESL community.

The first article, by Nuria Villalobos Ulate, highlights the importance of English language teachers being highly proficient in the language they teach, especially in EFL contexts. Nuria cites from her own experience using online and other available resources that can help NNES teachers maintain and build on their existing English language skills.

Adcharawan Buripakdi, in her personal account, delves into her memories of different accents that she encountered through her career as an English language user, from her early years in Thailand to her years as a doctoral student in the United States. Adcharawan’s account is poignant in its brevity, yet forceful in its support of nonnative English accents.

Finally, Jessica Lee provides a report on the first volume of the WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review. Jessica also shares briefly the vision behind the Annual Review and calls for NNESTIS members to consider submitting manuscripts for the next publication of the Review.

We sincerely hope that you enjoy the articles featured in this issue and thank our contributors for sharing their insights with us. Should you have any comments or feedback, please contact either the authors or us. Finally, we would like to encourage all of you to consider sharing your views and studies and send us (jainrashi@yahoo.com) your contributions for the next issue.

Rashi Jain and Ana Wu, the NNESTIS Editorial Team

Letter From the Chair

Aiden Yeh, University of Birmingham, PhD Candidate, aidenyeh@hotmail.com

Dear NNESTIS members,

Now in its third year as an interest section, NNESTIS is still going strong! At the recent TESOL convention in Boston, our IS was very well represented. With 29 sessions this year, compared with the 25 sessions we did in 2009, it just goes to show that our members have still got a lot to say about the issues that we advocate for. Below is a list of hot topics that we will be discussing at TESOL 2011 (New Orleans):

  • Examining the “E” in TESOL
  • Employment issues in Asia
  • Native speaker and color in the workplace
  • Tomorrow with an E: that is, how NNES teachers can compete with NES teachers in the teaching profession
  • Reviewing previous studies and envisioning the future of NNESTIS
  • Topics related to other ISs can include NNEST focus
  • How the NNEST issue is affecting everyone in the field
  • Analysis of policies in other organizations

One of the items on my to-do list is to conduct a series of free webinars for our members. The first session, held on April 23, 2010, and entitled “Webinar on Writing Good Proposals for the TESOL Convention,” was for those who may be interested in submitting a proposal but don’t know how. We were very fortunate to have Past Chair Karen Newman and Robert Griffin to share with our members some tips and tricks. Unfortunately, Valerie Jakar was unable to do her presentation because of illness. However, we’re planning to put up a slidecast and podcast of her session soon, which will also be available for download. PowerPoint materials used in the session and a link to the recording of the webcast can be accessed athttp://nnest2010webinar1.pbworks.com.

The next webinar in the lineup is about improving presentation skills. Having your proposals get accepted is just the beginning. Making sure that you’re able to present your session well is just as important. Learn what it takes to impress an audience. Details about this webinar will be posted to the NNESTIS e-list.

In addition to the webinars, I am also planning to do another Electronic Village Online (EVO) session for 2011. Please look at the EVO session we offered back in 2009 (http://nnest-evo2009.pbworks.com). For EVO2011, I’d like to organize an online workshop for NNES teachers who wish to enhance their teaching skills. The focus will be on teaching practice(s) in the local context. I’d like to see more EFL teachers participate and share with us how they teach and what they teach. If you’re interested in helping out in the planning process, please get in touch with me.

If you look at the list of hot topics above and at the topics of our webinars and online workshop, you will notice that we’d like to cover a wide scope of issues. Yes, it is true that discrimination against teachers who are labeled as nonnative speakers is still rampant and sometimes we see it right under the wings of TESOL. However, we should bear in mind that although we are very much interested in the issues regarding nonnative speaker status, we cannot deny the fact that they are interconnected with the issues of other interest sections in TESOL. We need to deal with these issues from the inside out. As a group we are united because despite the differences in the color of our skin, the beauty of our own first language(s), and the unique sound of our accents, we see one common ground that bonds us together: These differences unite us. These differences define who we are. And as long as we value these differences as our strength, we can serve the larger EFL/ESL community much better without losing our own identity in the process.

I am hoping that through the webinars, online workshops, and face-to-face conference presentations, NNESTIS can help empower you so you can help us empower teachers in the larger EFL/ESL communities areas all over the world. As we think global, we spread our vision to the world. We do this by working with local TESOL affiliates to gain access to local teachers. And with the power of new technologies, teacher professional development is just a click away. It’s time to think “glocally.” And it’s time for all of us to pay it forward.

Aiden Yeh

Articles How NNES Teachers Can Improve Their Language Skills

Nuria Villalobos Ulate, Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica,nutica@gmail.com

When I hear my students talk to each other in Spanish during English class, regardless of the many times I tell them to speak only English, I realize how challenging it is to learn a foreign language. I experienced it myself when learning English and Portuguese in my home country, Costa Rica. However, I had the opportunity to do graduate studies in the United States, which gave me the exposure I needed to the language and culture. For this reason, I can understand very well how challenging it is to learn and teach a language in both ESL and EFL environments.

I have always loved the English language, and because I lived in the United States for 2 years as an exchange student, it has become part of my life. Having a big family of international friends forced me to use English all the time, as did the need to communicate with people everywhere. Since I returned to Costa Rica, it has been more difficult for me to use English in a natural way because even though I teach it, it is only for some hours a day. In addition, I use Spanish to communicate with my family and friends, and with colleagues at the university during meetings or for coffee. So, what can I do to maintain my English skills? How can I do this if contact with native English speakers is scarce? Do we really need a native English speaker to keep up or improve our language skills?

English teaching professionals, both native and nonnative, have the responsibility to be highly proficient in English if they want to be role models for their students. In the case of nonnative English-speaking (NNES) teachers working in an EFL context, it is essential to use English daily. This is what I do and this has helped me maintain my language skills over time. I am aware of the fact that not all NNES teachers have had the opportunity to live in an English-speaking country, but this should not be a reason for not possessing an excellent command of the language. There is an incredible variety of resources and ideas we NNES teachers can use to achieve high proficiency in English; I will describe some that I have found to be very effective based on my personal experience.

Nowadays, to meet someone from another country, it is no longer necessary to go abroad. The Internet is a wonderful option for international communication; it offers a great variety of Web sites to learn and practice languages with both native and nonnative speakers. My Language Exchange (www.mylanguageexchange.com), for instance, is an online language exchange community with over 1 million members from over 133 countries who practice 115 languages. Others are Polyglot Club (www.polyglot-learn-language.com), with over 252,000 members, and Lenguajero(www.lenguajero.com), developed for Spanish and English learners. These Web sites offer free registration and translation; chat using voice, video, and text; forums; and useful links for further practice. The advantage of using such Web sites is that people share an interest in languages, along with a desire to become more culturally knowledgeable.

In contrast to the common belief that native English speakers are crucial for language improvement, I consider it an excuse for not trying harder. We should start by getting used to communicating with our own colleagues in English. If students see their NNES teachers use English all the time and not only in the classroom, they will understand how important it is and will do the same eventually. Isn’t it hypocritical to keep telling our students how necessary it is for them to use English whenever possible, if we do not do it ourselves?

Other suggestions for keeping up our English language skills are listening to music; watching movies and sitcoms; reading books, magazines, and newspapers; writing a journal or contributing to a Web site; publishing articles and books; creating a blog; recording ourselves; making videos; presenting at conferences; and networking. The list could go on, but what is important to keep in mind is that we NNES teachers have the possibility, and obligation to some extent, to improve as language professionals. I am certain that this will help us be better at what we do, and at the same time, it will be very beneficial for our students.

Nuria Villalobos Ulate is an EFL professor at Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica. Her research interests include L2 teacher education, global issues in language education, and NNEST-related issues.

Recalling Episodes of Nonnative English Accents

Adcharawan Buripakdi, Walailak University, Thailand, ajgob@yahoo.com

My English literacy in its infancy was planted solely by Thai teachers who held little English literacy themselves. Nonetheless, regardless of such limited pedagogical and theoretical orientations, those teachers schooled me by implanting profound local wisdom through English lessons. In the 1980s, my English education would absolutely have been impossible without my fifth-grade English teacher serving her duty in a remote school in southern Thailand. In college, Thai teachers with some background in ELT watered my English plant to grow in a Thai fashion. I remember, throughout the entire 4 years, only one Thai teacher, among many, came to class with the stunning accent of a native speaker. Sadly, not so long ago I realized that I did not learn much in that speakingclass besides sinking in a sea of wonder at the teacher’s Hollywood-movie-star accent, her scent of Paris colognes, her charms, her pairs of shoes, and other components of splendid theatrical performances. In contrast, those teachers who wore stern faces and wilted smiles, uttered English with Thai accents, and carried a red pen to frame their students into a grammatical translation mold were the ones who had a real impact on my English literacy.

In the same school I also remember learning English with two American teachers. One left me nothing much except one trick about how to pronounce “Robinson” correctly even though there was a slim chance for me to dramatize such a word in daily life. Every day I left that classroom drawing a gigantic exclamation mark of my teacher’s American English accent in my head. While practicing by saying “Robinson,” I wondered where I could learn to master such an accent. In those days, I was so ashamed of my imperfect English accent that I wondered where I should hide it. Today I realize that although I spent my whole life learning a Robinson-based trick, I cannot deny the reality that I have a Thai accent. This is because, linguistically, there is nothing much I can do about it. I recall the learning moment when this teacher punched my stomach to help me explode the right pronunciation of Robinson from my mouth. At this hour, nothing but a wide smile grows on my face when I recall my southern-Thai-accented Robinson.

In Bangkok, when I was in pursuit of a master’s degree in an international marketing program, it dawned on me that beautiful native speakers’ accents were simply a temporary happiness. Indeed, in reality, those accents, which lacked their meaningful essences, at least to me, did not embrace real beauty. The authenticity of gracious accents did not complete me intellectually. In retrospect, rather, in this program, Thai teachers, speaking English with a Thai accent, made me understand content more than farang1 teachers did. In a Thai way, these local teachers sowed the seeds of English, along with other subject matter, to grow beautifully in an intellectual garden. Those seeds of English knowledge were planted under limited conditions in EFL contexts where we students hardly got exposed to native English users. Despite this shortcoming, I witnessed that the teachers’ hard work yielded greater fruits when I stepped into professional life years later.

In the States, where I pursued a doctoral degree, I witnessed several circumstances when native speakers of English seemed not to understand World Englishes (Kachru, 1986). In those scenarios, we, native speakers of other languages, sometimes tacitly shared feelings of our own hurt, shame, and anger. I remember that in one course, an American professor, who did not speak a second language, tacitly showed his impatience with the student who attempted to articulate his idea by speaking English with a Chinese accent. In this higher education program, I encountered a strong presence of native speakers and a dichotomy between “us” and “them.” It was the first time, more than two decades after I left college, that I had to stand up to claim my academic identity hidden in my English. I used writing as a way to challenge mainstream English education. At the very least, writing was where I could be myself, able to talk back to those who seemed impatient with nonnative accents.

Adcharawan Buripakdi teaches in the English Program, School of Liberal Arts, Walailak University, Thailand. Her research interests include World Englishes, postcolonial discourse, L2 writing, and minority and language rights.


Kachru, B. B. (1986). The alchemy of English: The spread, functions, and models of non-native Englishes (1st ed.). Oxford, England: Pergamon Institute of English.

Winichakul, T. (1994). Siam mapped: A history of the geo-body of a nation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

1 Farang is a well-known adjective and noun referring to Western people without any specification of nationality, culture, ethnicity, or language (Winichakul, 1994, p. 5).

The WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review

Jessica Lee, Baekseok Arts University, S. Korea, jsleegw@bau.ac.kr

When the current TESOL president Brock Brady established the NNEST Caucus through WATESOL in 2004, he had a vision to bring a local awareness to issues and research regarding nonnative English-speaking (NNES) teachers. During the past 6 years, Professor Brady and the members of the WATESOL NNEST Caucus have worked tirelessly to support NNES teachers professionally, encourage awareness of the benefits of NNES teachers, promote research on NNES teacher issues, and foster collaboration between NNES teachers and native English-speaking (NES) teachers. As a culmination of this work, a group of NNEST Caucus members began to conduct presentations at local universities and conferences, including TESOL conferences, to raise awareness of NNES teacher issues. The latest project created by WATESOL NNEST Caucus members is an online publication entitled WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review, which focuses on native and nonnative English-speaking teachers. This publication can be found athttp://sites.google.com/site/watesolnnestcaucus/caucus-annual-review.

On behalf of the WATESOL NNEST caucus, I am pleased and honored to announce the publication of the first volume of the WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review. The contributors in this volume include renowned scholars in NNEST scholarship, George Braine and Ahmar Mahboob, and various experienced professors, teachers, and emerging scholars at a number of Washington-area TESOL institutions. This volume contains six studies, which are organized in five sections, all aimed at shedding light on various perspectives of NNEST research.

The first section includes an introduction from Brock Brady on how the Review emerged. This is followed by a short article written by George Braine, often known as the father of NNEST research, who raises the issue of intelligibility versus accents that often encumbers our perceptions of nonnative speakers.

The second section is devoted to self-perception studies on NNES teachers: Contributors Lee, Akikawa, and Yan explore how various experiences, perspectives of ESL teaching, and respective native languages influence classroom pedagogy and their views of successful teaching. These studies illustrate the uniqueness of how teachers’ multilingual and multicultural backgrounds can positively impact language teaching.

The third section aims to investigate students’ perceptions toward NES teachers and NNES teachers. Park and Shin particularly focus on the attitudes of four Korean international students at U.S. universities toward their NES and Korean NNES writing tutors. Their study reveals that NNES teachers who share students’ L1 can be more effective than NES teachers because NNES teachers have the ability to switch from L2 to L1 when providing comments and explanations. Lipovsky and Mahboob, using the discourse of written student evaluations, examine students’ attitudes toward their NES teachers and NNES teachers in the various areas of linguistic competence. Once again, their study appears to argue that English language learning is not exclusively the native speaker’s domain but has more to do with the teachers’ knowledge and their teaching expertise.

The WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review concludes with a discussion of advocacy issues. Though many organizations have taken significant steps to eradicate unfair hiring practices that discriminate against nonnative English speakers, Selvi’s study suggests that many of the job announcements, including those from the “TESOL Placement Bulletin” and the international employment section on “Dave’s Café,” tend to still explicitly discriminate against nonnative English speakers, especially in EFL contexts. His study highlights the need for professional associations and academic institutions to not only examine their hiring practices but firmly oppose discrimination altogether. Selvi’s study, as well as other studies in this volume, shows that NNES teachers have diverse characteristics and varied experiences that make them unique and special as language teachers.

The goal of this volume of the WATESOL NNEST Caucus Annual Review is to raise awareness of NNEST issues and NNEST scholarship. It provides readers with varied perspectives of language teachers and further broaches many important related areas of NNEST study. The Review will be published annually, and the members of WATESOL NNEST Caucus are currently seeking submissions for the next volume. Professors and mentors are particularly encouraged to promote their students’ submissions of NNEST-related research to the Review. For more information on the submission process and the history of the Review, please visit the Review’s Web site at http://sites.google.com/site/watesolnnestcaucus/caucus-annual-review.

Jessica Lee is an assistant professor of English education at Baekseok Arts University in Seoul, South Korea. Her areas of research interest include issues related to NNES teachers and second language learning.

Announcements and Information TESOL Awards and Grants

TESOL recognizes its exceptional members by offering various awards, many of which are available for our IS members. For information on TESOL awards and grants that you might consider applying for, visit http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=125&DID=1595.

NNEST Resources

Are you looking for interesting resources for NNES teachers? If so, you should visit the “Resources” section of our NNESTIS Web site:http://nnest.asu.edu/NewResource.html

Don’t forget to check out the bibliography on NNES teachers! http://nnest.asu.edu/NewBibliography1.html

Also, if you know about other relevant resources (e.g., Web sites, publications, press releases, tips) that could be posted in this section, we encourage you to share this information with us by contacting the web manager, Li-Fen Lin, at lifen_lin@hotmail.com. Help us keep this list current and comprehensive.

NNEST of the Month Blog

Would you like to find out about nonnative and native speakers who share interests in NNES teachers, teaching, and World Englishes? Please visit the “NNEST of the Month” blog at http://nnesintesol.blogspot.com. Our guests are just like you: graduate students, novice instructors, and experienced teachers with sound reputations in teaching ESL/EFL or applied linguistics.

About This Community About the Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL Interest Section (NNESTIS) The Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL Interest Section was first established as a caucus in October 1998 to strengthen effective teaching and learning of English around the world while respecting individuals' language rights. A decade later, in July 2008, it became an interest section.

The major goals are

  • to create a nondiscriminatory professional environment for all TESOL members regardless of native language and place of birth,
  • to encourage the formal and informal gatherings of nonnative speakers at TESOL and affiliate conferences,
  • to encourage research and publications on the role of nonnative speaker teachers in ESL and EFL contexts, and
  • to promote the role of nonnative speaker members in TESOL and affiliate leadership positions.

Membership is open to all interested TESOL members, both native and nonnative speakers of English.

Web site: http://nnest.asu.edu.

Discussion E-List

Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected to join NNEST-L, the open discussion list for NNESTIS members; or visit http://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=nnest-lif you are already an e-list subscriber.

NNESTIS Community Leaders and Officers 2010-2011

Chair: Aiden Yeh (aidenyeh@hotmail.com)

Chair-Elect: Icy Lee (icylee@cuhk.edu.hk)

Newsletter Editor: Rashi Jain (jainrashi@yahoo.com)

Editorial Staff: Ana Wu(anawu@ymail.com)

Web Manager: Li-Fen Lin (lifen_lin@hotmail.com)

E-List Manager: Maribel Fernandez (summit@montevideo.com.uy)

Historian: George Braine (georgebraine@cuhk.edu.hk)

Members at Large: Ryuko Kubota (ryuko.kubota@ubc.ca) & Aya Matsuda (aya.matsuda@asu.edu)

NNESTIS Newsletter Call for Submissions

Do you have some thoughts on the status of nonnative English speakers in TESOL (NNEST)? Have you done some preliminary studies on any NNEST-related issues? Do you have personal stories to share that are related to NNEST issues? Do you have some helpful tips for other nonnative English speakers in TESOL? If you do, please consider submitting an article to the NNEST Newsletter for consideration. The deadline for submissions for the December 2010 issue is September 30, 2010.

Submission Guidelines

The following types of submissions on topics related to NNEST (nonnative English speakers in TESOL) issues are welcome:

Feature Articles (1200-1500 words) related to teacher education, research, professional development, program administration, and sociocultural issues.

Brief Reports (600-900 words), such as book reviews, reports on conference presentations, and papers.

Personal Accounts (500-700 words) related to NNEST issues.

Announcements (50-75 words) of forthcoming presentations and meetings on issues related to NNES teachers as well as forthcoming articles and books on issues related to NNES teachers.

Readers' thoughts (500 words). This section gives you the opportunity to share your reactions to and thoughts about articles published in our newsletter.

All submissions should

  • be formatted using Microsoft Word (.doc),
  • be carefully edited and proofread and follow the style guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (the APA manual), and
  • include a short abstract (no more than 50 words) and two-sentence author(s) biography.

For more details, please visit the Newsletter section of the NNESTIS Web site, available at http://nnest.asu.edu.

Please send any queries and/or your submissions to Rashi Jain, jainrashi@yahoo.com.

NNESTIS Newsletter Call for Nominations for Editorial Volunteer Positions

The NNESTIS Newsletter needs two new editorial volunteers, as we are looking to expand our editorial team.

If you are interested in this position, please send me (jainrashi@yahoo.com) your name and a bio. All candidates must be TESOL members.

The editorial volunteer works collaboratively with the editor publicizing the work of the IS and assisting the editor in the submission review process on a regular basis. The editor and the editorial volunteers closely communicate about any issues related to the newsletter. For more information about duties and responsibilities, please visit http://nnest.asu.edu/Newleaders.html.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. NNESTIS is one of the oldest and most active organizations in TESOL. This strong presence is due to the past leaders' efforts and support from members like you.

Please send any queries and/or your nominations to Rashi Jain at jainrashi@yahoo.com.

NNESTIS Newsletter Mission Statement


The NNEST Newsletter is the official newsletter of the Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL Interest Section (NNESTIS). The purpose of the NNEST Newsletter is three-fold: to inform, to inspire, and to invite. First, the newsletter informs NNESTIS members about issues, developments, and activities that are related to the professional status of nonnative English speakers in TESOL and related professions. Second, the newsletter inspires current and prospective NNESTIS members by providing stories of successes and struggles of NNEST professionals as well as of students, colleagues, and administrators who may be native or nonnative speakers of English. Third, the newsletter invites NNESTIS members to share information, insights, and experiences related to NNEST issues.


The primary audience of the NNEST Newsletter is the members of the NNESTIS. The IS members are native and nonnative speakers of English from various geographic and institutional contexts. They are teachers, researchers, and administrators as well as graduate students at various stages of professional development. All of them are interested in and concerned about issues surrounding the professional status of nonnative English speakers in TESOL. The audience also includes potential members of the NNESTIS who wish to gain insights into the NNESTIS and its activities.


The NNEST Newsletter contributes significantly to TESOL by addressing issues that affect a significant portion of TESOL members: nonnative English speakers. To native English speakers in TESOL, the newsletter offers resources for understanding and addressing NNEST issues in ethical, effective, and informed ways. In order to enhance its appeal to native English-speaking members and to facilitate mutual understanding between native English speakers and nonnative English speakers, the newsletter seeks to increase submissions from native English speakers in the profession. It also seeks to further raise the awareness of the issue of diversity by encouraging submissions that address how NNEST issues interact with issues faced by other interest sections.

Because NNEST issues affect all members of TESOL directly or indirectly, the NNEST Newsletter will continue to contribute to the overall mission of TESOL by

  • promoting a better understanding of the status of nonnative English speakers in TESOL,
  • prompting the discussion of NNEST issues among all TESOL members, and
  • providing resources to NNESTIS members as well as TESOL members in general.