NNEST Newsletter

NNEST News, Volume 9:1 (May 2007)

by User Not Found | 10/27/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Editors’ Remarks
    • Message From the Outgoing Chair
    • Letter from the Chair
  • Articles
    • An Invitation to New Members of the Caucus, George Braine
    • Miscast in English: Tales From the Periphery, Doron Narkiss
    • The Native Model Fallacy in SLA: What can we do about it? Ahmar Mahboob
    • The Many Faces of NNESTs: An Invitation, Ana Wu
  • Announcements and Information
    • TESOL 2008 Annual Convention & Graduate Student Forum
    • TESOL Awards and Grants
    • Position Statement Against Discrimination of Nonnative Speakers of English in the Field of TESOL (March 2006)
    • NNEST Resources
  • About This Community
    • About the Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL Caucus
    • NNEST Newsletter Call for Submissions
    • NNEST Newsletter Mission Statement

Leadership Updates Editors’ Remarks

Sandra Zappa-Hollman, University of British Columbia, sczappa@interchange.ubc.ca (Editor)

Kyung-Hee Bae, University of Houston Writing Center, kbae@uh.edu (Volunteer Editor)

Lisya Seloni, Ohio State University, seloni.1@osu.edu (Volunteer Editor)

We invite you to read our May 2007 issue of the NNEST Newsletter, which includes a message from our past chair, Karen Newman, as well as from our current chair, Luciana de Oliveira. The articles featured in this issue share the common themes of invitation and reflection. George Braine encourages NNEST Caucus members, in particular those who have just joined our caucus, to inform themselves about NNEST issues and to actively participate in the caucus as well as in their own local contexts as NNEST advocates. We hope that you enjoy reading about the many ways in which this can be achieved! Doron Narkiss draws from his experience teaching academic writing in Israel to reflect on the ramifications of professional choices in the self-identity formation of a nonnative-English-speaking teacher-trainee. Ahmar Mahboob shares his reflections on the native model fallacy in SLA and includes some suggestions aimed at counteracting this myth, which is still present, although in more subtle ways. Finally, Ana Wu's piece invites you to visit the "NNEST of the Month" site, where you can learn about the interesting professional trajectories of fellow NNES teachers.

We encourage you to send us your contributions for the October 2007 issue of the newsletter. Please send your submissions by August 30, 2007, to the newsletter editor, Sandra Zappa-Hollman, at sczappa@interchange.ubc.ca.


Message From the Outgoing Chair

Karen Newman, Ohio State University, newman.301@osu.edu

This year's TESOL 2007 conference in Seattle was truly an exciting event for those of us who were able to attend, on both professional and personal levels. After returning from a conference, I always find myself reflecting on the things that stand out, those things that come to characterize that one frenzied week we share with colleagues each year, and the moments I won't soon forget when I look back on my conference experience. This year, my experience was characterized in so many ways by the theme of mentoring, and some of the unforgettable moments include my chance meeting at the Lawrence Erlbaum bookstall with authors Shelley Wong and Lynne Diaz-Rico, two women whom I've viewed as mentors from afar, even though we'd never met, and whose works I've read and long admired. Just afterward, I had a brief conversation with graduate student and new NNEST member Akiko Ota, who asked me where to begin to pursue her interest in NNEST research. In a lovely email I received from Akiko thereafter, she thanked me for my suggestions. Perhaps it was more than chance that, at the same bookstall, I was able to meet two mentors and also serve as a mentor for a new colleague. 

Yet another highlight for me was TESOL President (and former NNEST Chair) Jun Liu's keynote address about his childhood and studies of English in China, his life as a NNES teacher, and the many pragmatic and cultural challenges he faced when he first came to the United States for his graduate studies. His address was filled with much humor, but what really touched me the most was when he talked about his beloved mentor from his university days in China. On a recent trip back to China, Jun was able to visit him as he languished in a hospital bed. Jun shared the picture of the two of them—the student whose diligent work has brought him so much success, and the frail yet beaming mentor, who was still working and writing, even as he lay on his deathbed. Soon after their meeting, Jun's mentor passed away, and family members found Jun's recent book tucked under his pillow. I was truly moved by this story, and thought of how much the mentoring relationship means not only for the mentee, but for the mentor as well, and how our mentoring relationships endure across the years and the miles.

Mentoring was also the theme of this year's NNEST Colloquium, entitled "The Mentoring of NNEST Professionals." Our colloquium featured compelling presentations from a panel that included Keiko Samimy, Soonhyang Kim, Jeong-Ah Lee, Katya Nemtchinova, Sandra Zappa-Hollman, Kyung-Hee Bae, Lisya Seloni, Fabiana Sacchi, Silvia Pessoa, Luciana de Oliveira, and myself. Topics included personal reports of mentoring experiences, meeting novice NNES teachers' mentoring needs, peer-to-peer mentoring, and a survey that Luciana and I have been conducting about the content of TESOL programs and mentoring. This latter project is ongoing, and Lu and I heartily invite you to participate in our survey to share your experiences with TESOL programs and mentoring as well. Our survey is accessible at http://www.surveyshare.com/survey/take/?sid=49275.

During the NNEST colloquium, Lucie Moussu was presented with the East Carolina University/ TESOL Award for an Outstanding Paper on NNEST Issues for her thorough study of students' perceptions of NEST and NNEST instructors. Please join me in congratulating Lucy for all of her hard work on such an extensive research project!  
Another highlight for me was our annual NNEST Business Meeting, which I had the privilege of chairing. We had a lively, full room and a full agenda, and we welcomed new members, shared updates, and began a brief discussion of our own caucus's future, which we will now carry over to an online discussion. Part of our discussion needs to address whether the NNEST Caucus can best fill its mission and purposes by (a) remaining a caucus or (b) becoming an interest section. This past year, TESOL showed concern about the caucuses as entities within TESOL, and many of you participated in TESOL's recent survey about caucuses and have read the results online. (By the way, TESOL will be publishing a full report of its study in May, which also included an examination of other, national organizations that have caucuses and interest sections, so be sure to watch your email.) We were assured by TESOL Board Members that caucuses will continue as entities, yet it is nevertheless in our best interest for the NNEST Caucus—especially as we look forward to our 10-year anniversary!—to review our current structure as a caucus and consider potential new directions as we look to the future. 
Additionally, at our business meeting, we addressed the issue of caucus electronic discussion lists. This past year, without prior indication from TESOL, all members of the six caucus electronic discussion lists were automatically dropped from their respective list when they renewed their TESOL membership. This severed the lifeline of many caucus members, not only those of us in the NNEST Caucus. TESOL apologized for this and has assured us that this will not happen in the future. If you have not recently seen any emails from our NNEST electronic discussion list, I encourage you to renew your list membership at http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=294&DID=7837.

Because of the issues with the NNEST Caucus electronic discussion list, the majority of attendees at the business meeting felt that it was not possible for us to hold a fair election for our incoming chair-elect online, since it was not clear whether all NNEST Caucus members were receiving our electronic discussion list emails.  Please see the information elsewhere in this newsletter for details on how we will be holding our election in the weeks to come.

At our business meeting, I was also able to publicly thank my mentor, Martha Nyikos, for her support over the years, and to thank you, the NNEST Caucus members, for sharing your confidence and support during my term as NNEST Caucus chair. Once again, let me send a hearty thank-you to so many colleagues for mentoring me in my academic and leadership development during my years in the caucus, and for letting me serve as mentor to some of you as well. While other caucuses "pass the baton" or "pass the beads" to incoming chairs, I was able to "pass the buck" (the Starbucks thank-you card, that is, since we were in Seattle, home of Starbucks) to our wonderful incoming NNEST Caucus Chair Luciana de Oliveira. Although I am now the immediate past chair, I still look forward to continuing to serve you and our NNEST Caucus in the years to come, and of course, I look forward to staying in touch and seeing as many of you as possible at TESOL 2008 in New York.

On that note, let me urge all colleagues in NNEST to apply for one of TESOL's awards or grants so that you may be able to join us in New York next year and share in the mentoring, as well as the professional and personal growth, that invariably takes place at every conference. Please visit the following TESOL Web site for information on how to apply for an award or grant: http://www.tesol.org/awards.

With warm regards from sunny Columbus, Ohio,
Karen L. Newman

Letter from the Chair

Luciana C. de Oliveira, Purdue University, luciana@purdue.edu

Reflecting on the Past, Looking Into the Future

Dear Colleagues,

As we look into the future, we must also reflect on the past. This is an important time for our caucus. As we celebrate our 10-year anniversary in 2008, we're looking at some important changes that may happen. A few weeks ago, at the TESOL convention in Seattle, I attended the outgoing and incoming meetings for caucus leaders. Several issues were brought to our attention, and I'd like to highlight a couple. One of the main issues was the creation of an ad hoc committee put together by the TESOL leadership to discuss and know more about the structure and role of the caucuses. This committee has the charge to look into the current structure of the caucuses and to survey TESOL members about what their thoughts are regarding the caucuses' mission. We want to have a discussion on our electronic discussion list about whether the NNEST Caucus should remain a caucus or become an interest section. Look for emails about that on our electronic discussion list and please contribute to the discussion! Again, this is a crucial time for the caucus.

We have come a long way since the caucus was fist established. We continue to have a large number of NNEST-related presentations at TESOL and affiliate conventions. Our single-spaced reference list is now 8 pages long, reflecting the growing number of publications on NNEST issues. In addition, the NNEST Caucus is continuing to grow. We currently have 1,287 members, as of March 2007. This number shows that more and more TESOL members see the value of our caucus. I'm very pleased to be part of such a wonderful group of professionals.

As we look into the future, we need to continue to show our presence through NNEST-related presentations and publications. We also need to increase our leadership capabilities and I hope that some of you reading this will be able to volunteer for caucus leadership positions in the coming years. It is very important that we continue to grow and expand. One of my goals as chair this year will be to mentor novice NNEST professionals to take on leadership roles in the profession. Your participation in the caucus can take several forms:

  • Share your stories, research, ideas, and insights through the NNEST Newsletter.
  • Join the caucus electronic discussion list and participate in current discussions. One of the goals of the list is to keep us all connected through discussions of current issues. Feel free to initiate a discussion based on your own experiences, share classroom ideas, and discuss things that you're dealing with in the profession. 
  • Volunteer at the NNEST booth during the annual TESOL convention. Volunteering at the booth is a great way to make new acquaintances while helping out the caucus!
  • Run for a leadership position. We are always looking for energetic members to take on leadership positions within the caucus. 

As we look into the future, we must reflect about our past as a caucus. We need to find out more about your continuing needs and expectations. Our leadership team will design a survey to investigate what your continuing needs are so we can work on trying to address them through caucus activities. Your participation and involvement are critical for our future. I am looking forward to a very productive year ahead!

All the best,


Articles An Invitation to New Members of the Caucus, George Braine

George Braine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, georgebraine@cuhk.edu.hk

At the beginning of the business meeting of our caucus held in Seattle in March, I was glad to see that almost every seat was taken, and mainly by new members. Understandably, some new members had questions about the caucus. What were its objectives? How would the caucus benefit them? This article is an attempt to respond to these questions by summarizing what we have achieved since the formation of the caucus in 1998, and to invite new members to empower themselves while contributing to the progress of the caucus.

After an organization has been in existence for a while, it's not unusual for members to become complacent, to take the status quo for granted. But, as the saying goes, those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. The terms NNS and NNEST now appear frequently in TESOL convention programs, the titles of publications in leading ELT journals, and the titles of course offerings especially at the graduate level. Instead of being pejoratives, the terms have gained acceptance and respect in the field of applied linguistics as referring to those who did not have the privilege of being born into the English language, yet have acquired and learned it proficiently to stand on equal terms with English teachers who are native speakers of the language.

However, the situation was quite different a decade ago. I will not repeat the reasons for the establishment of the caucus here. A quick visit tohttp://www.moussu.net/nnest/history.html will explain why and how the caucus came into being.

What is a caucus? A caucus is generally defined as being a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement. In the case of TESOL, caucuses provide forums for members who share common social, cultural, or demographic identities. However, at its inception, the founders set out broader aims for the NNEST Caucus. These aims were to

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

Looking back after 10 years, there is little doubt that the caucus has exceeded its expectations in three of these areas, becoming probably the most influential movement in ELT in the past decade. NNS English teachers have been united and empowered as never before, research and publications on NNEST issues have grown rapidly, and nonnative speakers have taken leadership position in TESOL and its affiliates. In addition to numerous journal articles, four edited volumes on nonnative speakers have appeared: Non-Native Educators in English Language Teaching (1999), Learning and Teaching From Experience: Perspectives on Nonnative English-Speaking Professionals (2004), Non-Native Language Teachers: Perceptions, Challenges, and Contributions to the Profession (2005), and Teaching English to the World: History, Curriculum, and Practice (2005). More volumes are in preparation. A new area of research has opened up, investigating issues that relate to NNS English teachers.

In terms of leadership roles, TESOL elected its first NNS president recently, and he happens to be a past chair of the NNEST Caucus. In addition, two prominent members of the caucus, including another past chair, are members of the TESOL Board of Directors. The current editor of TESOL Quarterly, the flagship journal of the TESOL organization, is a nonnative speaker, another first. The caucus itself has been globally representative, electing chairs from a range of geographical and linguistic origins: Argentina, China, France & Switzerland, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the United States. The NNS movement has also spawned new interests in race and color issues in ELT.

In summary, new members inherit, at no cost, the enormous contribution made by the caucus to empower NNS English teachers by uplifting their professional status. In fact, these are not only professional and pedagogical concerns, but social and economic issues as well.

However, it would be naïve to believe that the first aim of the caucus—to create a nondiscriminatory professional environment for all TESOL members regardless of native language and place of birth"—as been fully achieved. Although evidence of such discrimination within the United States now appears only sporadically, it's still of major concern elsewhere in the world. In Asia, where I work, China, Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong are still "lands of open discrimination" (as a colleague called them) when it comes to the hiring of English teachers. For the better-paying jobs, NS English teachers are almost always preferred over local NNS teachers.

So, how can new members empower themselves and contribute to the caucus? First, they should accept some realities: discrimination against NNS English teachers will continue to exist, so they may have to struggle twice as hard to achieve what often comes as a birthright to their native speaker colleagues. Academic qualifications alone will not suffice for employment or career advancement. Fluency in English is critical; language acquisition and learning is a lifelong process and they should strive at every opportunity to enhance their fluency in English. They must also grow as professionals, taking active roles and assuming leadership in professional organizations in their cities and regions, and initiating research and publications.

As for the caucus, their contributions could range from actively participating in the electronic discussion list to share their ideas, voting in caucus elections, and being alert for violations of TESOL's "Position Statement Against Discrimination of Nonnative Speakers of English in the Field of TESOL" (seehttp://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=32&DID=37). They should also invite their classmates and colleagues to join the caucus; with more members, the caucus will have more influence on the future of our profession. The founding members of the caucus, although still active, will eventually move on, and new members will decide where the caucus will go, and how it gets there.

George Braine is the historian of the NNEST Caucus.

Miscast in English: Tales From the Periphery, Doron Narkiss

Doron Narkiss, Department of English, Kaye Academic College, Israel, doron.narkiss@gmail.com

In my third-year composition class I asked my students—Jews and Arabs at an academic teacher-training college in Tel Aviv—to write a short personal narrative about a significant event in their lives, one that has bearing on who they are today. Sanaa (pseud.), one of the brightest, best informed, most communicative persons in the class, a nonnative English speaker with near-native proficiency, submitted a narrative entitled "Why I Chose to Become an English Teacher."

In the piece, Sanaa told how she had been in a car accident the summer after graduating from high school and had lain immobilized in the hospital, in a plaster body cast, for six months. During that time, she had read everything she could in the three languages she knows (Arabic, her mother tongue; Hebrew, her second language; and English, her first foreign language), and at the end of that period decided that what she most wanted to do was to become an English teacher.

I knew that Sanaa had attended what is considered to be one of the best schools in the country, the so-called Scottish School in Jaffa. Through her narrative, I learned that her love of literature and reading, particularly in English, was instilled in her by her English teacher in high school, whom she described in her essay as "a middle-aged, white, Scottish woman."

As a literature teacher, I found that the literary qualities in the paper seemed to validate my instructional efforts and prove the value of my work. The symbolism of the story was irresistible, and I decided to use it as one of the papers we would workshop in class, as an example of how imagery can propel narrative. I made the point of Sanaa's emergence, butterfly-like, from the chrysalis of the cast. We drew the parallel between the processes of healing and of reading, through which she had reached the decision that marked her maturation. We discussed openings and endings, images and interpretation. Through all this Sanaa sat quietly, listening but not talking. At the end of the lesson, I asked her if she wanted to respond. She smiled sweetly and said, "I made it all up. There was no accident. No hospital. No cast. But I really did have a great English teacher."

This was not what I had expected, to say the least. I mumbled something about how it is legitimate to make up stories about oneself (as long as it is not for harmful purposes) and how "literary" the hoax had been, strewing its clues between opening and ending, weaving in images to lead to an interpretation, all in a conscious act of creation. I applauded her paper, as though finding value in its parts would exonerate my completely wrong interpretation of the whole. I felt like a charlatan.

On the long bus ride home, I thought about Sanaa's story. Even if it was not the truth, or rather because it was fiction, it was still a moving, disturbing story. Why had she been drawn to tell such an uninhibited tale of violence directed at herself—car accident, multiple fractures, terrible pain, fear for one's life, total rigidity for months in a plaster cast—in order to describe her coming-into-being as an English teacher? I remembered how Sanaa had written about her own English teacher. She seemed to admire her greatly and, as often happens, a good teacher had influenced a devoted student to become a teacher of the same subject herself. I remembered how she had described her—a "middle-aged, white, Scottish woman," which seemed from the start an odd choices of adjectives. A middle-aged Scottish woman coming to teach English (excuse my prejudice) would be "White" by default, as it were, the "unmarked" form of middle-aged women Scottish English teachers at a school in Israel. Why emphasize a racial characteristic, the whiteness? Though the English teacher seems admirable and desirable, these qualities could be interpreted as signs of a hierarchy in which the pupil is inferior to the teacher. In order to become (like) the desired object and to acquire the status that accrues to it, the path lies first through becoming an English teacher, which in her essay Sanaa identified with being White.

But the color "white" is far more insidious: it could equally be applied to the imaginary plaster cast. Far from the butterfly I had tried to conceive in class, the body in the story is imagined as literally smashed, suggesting also the destruction of indigenous Black identity (e.g., the languages in cultural conflict), then forcefully put back together within the white skin of the body cast. Sanaa had written of a body broken, then "fixed"—that it, cast, both literally through the plaster and as an assumed persona—as "white." This not only testifies to the strength of the desire for "whiteness" but also assumes that in order to become "white," she must first lose her own identity, be fragmented and then reconstituted. Far from the naturalistic image of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, the story told of the self-incarceration of the subject and a brutal, radical refashioning of identity.

I should have remembered Frantz Fanon writing in Black Skin, White Masks (1967 [1952]):

"Every colonized people—in other words, every people in whose soul an inferiority complex has been created by the death and burial of its local cultural originality—finds itself face to face with the language of the civilizing nation; that is, with [its] culture. . . . The colonized is elevated above his jungle status in proportion to his adoption of the mother country's cultural standards. He becomes whiter as he renounces his blackness, his jungle." (18)

Sanaa's story serves as a tribute to Fanon's far-sightedness, and as a warning to presumptuous teachers too enamored of their own interpretations. I have seen Fanon's point proved again and again: nonnative speakers' innate sense of themselves as inferior, somehow, because of lack of English. I would suggest that in Sanaa's case, the issue is further complicated by her minority status as an Arab in Israel. Hebrew shares with English the functions of social and scholastic gatekeeper towards peripheral subjects in Israel (Arabs, immigrants, women), which particularly affects the status and robustness of Arabic. Sanaa's choice of English as her specialization avoids both Arabic, a low-status language, and Hebrew, where she is less likely to succeed, given the high level of some of the native speakers.

But most of all, it is merely—or above all—a story, as Sanaa herself reminded me the following week, when I returned, shaken yet unrepentant, armed once again with my version of the truth, the mirror image of last week's truth. I do not remember her exact words, but the gist of her response was that even if there was a measure of what I called "colonial anxiety" or "cringe" in her wanting to become an English teacher and in following in the footsteps of an admired native-speaking teacher, writing the story was her way of exorcising it, externalizing her sense of struggle, exaggerating it to grotesque dimensions as a way of overcoming it, delineating her other as well as herself.

Writing the story, in English—"fooling" me into taking it literally; revealing the simplistic binarism implicit in my response (butterfly or smashed-up body); and being the cause of serious debate in class among the other nonnative speakers on the issues raised—served to validate and legitimize her need to come to terms with her self-identity from a position of uncertainty, and since all this was conducted in English, reinforced her sense of mastery of the language. The range of interpretations—including total dissociation from the experiencing "I" in the story—is much wider than I had acknowledged, and so both Sanaa and I learned something new about the formation of identity, she by the process of writing and responding to the story and I by (mis)reading it. 

Sanaa's text exhibits a theme I have found central in the writing of nonnative students of English over the years, namely a sense of being peripheral to the Western center, and becoming an English teacher is seen as way to interact with the center as an equal (Anderson, 1991; Bhabha, 1994; Narkiss, 2002). Her narrative illustrates that for a nonnative speaker, even (particularly?) for one as talented as Sanaa, to become an English teacher is part of a much wider issue of identity, in which knowledge of English has several nuanced functions. Coming to terms with the conflicting identities that make up the professional nonnative-speaking English teacher in Israel seems to require a complex personal, cultural, and political negotiation (Stavans & Narkiss, 2004). This negotiation, despite the (justified) suspicion towards English and its accoutrements within nonnative contexts, mixes positive, decolonizing aspects with questionable oppressive and capitalist motives; but that's another story.


Anderson, B. (1991). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism (2nd ed.). London & New York: Verso. 
Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The location of culture. London & New York: Routledge. 
Fanon, F. (1967 [1952]). Black skin, white masks. (C. L. Markmann, Trans.). New York: Grove. 
Narkiss, D. (2002). English in foreign eyes. Teoria u-Vikoret 20, 259-281. In Hebrew.  
Stavans, A., & Narkiss, D. (2004). Creating and implementing a language policy in the Israeli education system: The producers, the product, the consumers, and the market. In C. Hoffmann & J. Ytsma (Eds.), Trilingualism in family, school and community (pp. 139-165). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Doron Narkiss, PhD, is a teacher-trainer in Israel. Doron's main research interests are how the themes and concerns of postcolonial literature, which parallel the cognitive positions of his (mostly NNES) students, can be used to reflect upon the functions and conflicting meanings of "English" for the students.


The Native Model Fallacy in SLA: What can we do about it? Ahmar Mahboob

Ahmar Mahboob, Department of Linguistics, University of Sydney, ahmar.mahboob@arts.usyd.edu.au

Having just returned from the TESOL convention in Seattle, I see clearly that the NNEST Caucus has made an impact on how our non-NNEST colleagues in TESOL (the association) look at us within professional settings. The impact of the NNEST movement in other venues—such as hiring—is, however, far less secure. For example, we can note how the discriminatory discourse in job ads has shifted from requiring "native speakers" to requiring candidates from a list of specified inner circle countries; interestingly, these are all White Anglo-English dominated countries. This change in the lexicon is a thin veil that attempts to hide the racial and L1-based discrimination in the field.

I believe that one of the reasons behind a continuation of bias against NNES teachers in our profession is the use of an abstract notion of NS language as the target (or model) language in SLA and applied linguistics research. Much SLA research is based on the assumption that learners seek to acquire NS models of language. Though this might be true in some cases, it is not a universal tendency. An overemphasis on native language as target language leads to what I call a native model fallacy in SLA, which underplays the role of regional and local language varieties. Findings emerging from such SLA research label learners who do not achieve NS proficiency as having fossilized. This notion of fossilization marks non-mother-tongue speakers of English with accents as perpetual learners who are unable to achieve native-like proficiency. This construction of nonnative speakers as fossilized learners has, over time, worked its way into the mainstream (as gauged by the inclusion of terms such as fossilization in various dictionaries). Thus, many people—including native speakers and nonnative speakers—often view nonnative speakers as deficit learners of English rather than as productive users of the language. For NNES teachers who work under this deficit model, this leads to a loss of confidence. The seeping in of terms such as fossilization into everyday speech has provided support to discriminatory views held by program administrators and other nonexperts instead of challenging them. The recent trend in SLA literature (that integrates a discussion of sociocultural constructs such as learner identity) indicates, however, that such an uncritical acceptance of native speaker-as-model is finally being questioned and some applied linguists are working to dismiss the native model fallacy.

As English language teachers and teacher educators we can take a number of concrete steps to further dispel these myths and to help create a more professional and nondiscriminatory atmosphere in TESOL. We can do this by considering at least the following two strategies:

1. Become familiar with literature on World Englishes:

o for classroom teachers this means that we consider how English has evolved and stop viewing World Englishes as being "bad" or "incorrect"
o for teacher educators this means that we incorporate readings/discussion of the issue in our classes
o for researchers this means that we consider the politics and implications of globalization of English in our applied linguistics research

2. Question the native-speaker-as-model in SLA research:

o for teachers this means that we critically examine the research that we read and be aware of any native model bias present in the literature 
o for teacher educators this means that we select research that is not based on the native-speaker-as-model assumption (and, perhaps, we should help our students see how research is never completely objective, as it is constructed and informed by various assumptions that are held by the researcher and/or reflected in specific research traditions and procedures)
o for researchers this means that we conduct studies that look at language acquisition in a local context without reference to native-speaker norms and to critically examine previous research for native-speaker-as-target bias

This short essay is based on a personal understanding of the field as well as my current knowledge of the literature. I would like to invite the readers to carry out their own analyses of the literature and to conduct studies that expand the research on NNES teachers. In particular, I would like to refer the readers to the following work in order to follow up on some of the themes referred to above.

Bhatt, R. M. (2002). Experts, dialects, and discourse. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 12(1), 74-109.

Kachru, Y. (1994). Monolingual bias in SLA research. TESOL Quarterly, 28(4), 795-800.

Mahboob, A. (2005). Beyond the native speaker in TESOL. In S. Zafar (Ed.), Culture, Context, & Communication (pp. 60-93). Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Center of Excellence for Applied Research and Training & The Military Language Institute.

Matsuda, P. K. (2003). Proud to be a nonnative speaker. TESOL Matters, 13(4), 15.

Pennycook, A. (2001). Critical applied linguistics: A critical introduction. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Ahmar Mahboob teaches Applied Linguistics at the University of Sydney. He has worked in the areas of language policy development, pidgin and creole languages, NNEST studies, English language acquisition, English language teaching and teacher education, World Englishes, pragmatics, and issues surrounding minority languages in South Asia.


The Many Faces of NNESTs: An Invitation, Ana Wu

Ana Wu, City College of San Francisco, awu@ccsf.edu

It is my greatest pleasure to invite you to visit the "NNEST of the Month" site (http://www.moussu.net/nnest/blog/index.html) which was once moderated by Fu-An Lin, Amir H. Soheili-Mehr, Lucie Moussu, and lastly by Chia-Ying Pan. Since its creation in 2005, the site has featured 15 inspirational interviewees.

As the number of members of this caucus increases—we are about 1,154 according to the February 2007 census—the site is a place where you can meet native and nonnative speakers who share an interest in NNEST issues. These are people just like you: graduate students, novice teachers, experienced instructors, and professional contributors with a solid reputation in TESOL. Read their compelling stories of success and regrets, learn how they overcame and endured hardships, be inspired by how they gained credibility and developed expertise, remember their advice and achievements, and celebrate with them their satisfaction and fulfillment in doing what they are really passionate about.

When I decided to accept the task of managing this Web site, my intention as an interviewer was to create a place where nonnative speakers who feel isolated or are not able to attend TESOL can see our many faces, learn who we are and what we do,  and find inspiration and support. I hope you will enjoy reading their stories, and also encourage you to welcome the interviewees, post comments, and send me suggestions for future interviews.  

Announcements and Information TESOL 2008 Annual Convention & Graduate Student Forum

The 42nd Annual TESOL Convention and Exhibit (TESOL 2008) will take place at the New York Hilton & Sheraton New York, New York, USA, April 2-5, 2008. Save these dates! The deadline for proposal submissions is June 1, 2007.

For more details visit http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=1518&DID=8281.

TESOL Awards and Grants

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.

Position Statement Against Discrimination of Nonnative Speakers of English in the Field of TESOL (March 2006)

All educators should be evaluated within the same criteria. Nonnative-English-speaking educators should not be singled out because of their native language. TESOL strongly opposes discrimination against nonnative English speakers in the field of English language teaching.

To read the full text of this document or to download printable copies, go to http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=32&DID=37.  

NNEST Resources

Are you looking for interesting resources for NNES teachers? If so, visit the "Resources" section of our NNEST Caucus Web site:http://nnest.moussu.net/resources.html.

Don't forget to check out the bibliography on NNES teachers! http://nnest.moussu.net/bibliography.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, Ana Wu, at awu@ccsf.edu. Help us keep this list very useful by including current and comprehensive information! 


About This Community About the Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL Caucus

The Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL (NNEST) Caucus was established in October 1998 to strengthen effective teaching and learning of English around the world while respecting individuals' language rights.

1. Caucus Major Goals

  • 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
  • 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 alike.

2. Web Site: http://nnest.moussu.net

3. Discussion E-List:

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

4. NNEST Caucus Community Leaders and Volunteers 2006-07

Chair: Luciana C. de Oliveira (luciana@purdue.edu)
Chair-Elect: (elections to take place soon)
Newsletter Editor: Sandra Zappa-Hollman (sczappa@interchange.ubc.ca)
Editorial Volunteers: Kyung-Hee Bae (kbae@uh.edu) & Lisya Seloni (seloni.1@osu.edu)
Web Manager: Ana Wu (awu@ccsf.edu)
E-List Manager: Rosie Maum (rosiefiume@aol.com)
Assistant E-List Manager: Aiden Yeh (aidenyeh@hotmail.com)
Historian: George Braine (georgebraine@cuhk.edu.hk)

NNEST Newsletter Call for Submissions

Do you have some thoughts on the status of the NNEST Caucus? Do you have personal stories to share that are related to NNEST issues? Do you have some helpful tips for other NNES teachers? If you do, please consider submitting an article to the NNEST Newsletter for consideration. The deadline for submissions for the October 2007 issue is August 30, 2007.
Submission Guidelines

Any of the following types of submissions 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 and reports on conference presentations and papers

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

Announcements (50-75 words) of forthcoming events and publications 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 documents need to be formatted in Microsoft Word (.doc). The editors reserve the right to edit any materials submitted for publication in order to enhance clarity or style.

Please send all manuscripts as an e-mail attachment to the NNEST editor, Sandra Zappa-Hollman (sczappa@interchange.ubc.ca).


NNEST Newsletter Mission Statement

The NNEST Newsletter is the official newsletter of the Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL (NNEST) Caucus. The purpose of the NNEST Newsletter is three-fold: to inform, to inspire, and to invite. First, the newsletter informs NNEST Caucus 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 NNEST Caucus 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 NNEST Caucus members to share information, insights, and experiences related to NNEST issues.

The primary audience of the NNEST Newsletter is the members of the NNEST Caucus. The caucus 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 NNEST Caucus who wish to gain insights into the NNEST Caucus 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 NES 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 caucuses and 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 NNEST Caucus members as well as TESOL members in general.