Native English Teacher or Not?

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People often ask me:

“Will, my teacher, be just some native English speaker, or will he be a teacher as well?"

That’s a good question, and if you haven’t been asking, then it’s about time that you did.


As you may know, we firmly believe that native teachers are the way to go! I mean, after all, our school teaches students of all levels pretty much exclusively with natives. So although you would think our opinion would be biased, we still think that under certain conditions taking a native teacher might not be the best choice yet.

So first, let’s talk about the positives of having classes with native teachers. They speak the language the way people talk and not the way you learn in books.

For example, teachers often stress the importance of the difference between the use of:



May is what we use for permission and can for ability.

So, we say, “may I use the bathroom?”

and not “can I use the bathroom?”

Give it a try!

The truth is nobody cares or will even think twice if you say may or can in this situation, yet the school that you are learning at might make this out to be a big deal.

Listen, I grew up in the States, and we all asked if we can use the bathroom, not if we may. Now that I think about it, the only ones who would correct us were our English teachers, hahaha, and they would always say it with a sarcastic look and smile, “I don’t know, can you? It’s may I, not can I.”

I’ve mastered spoken Portuguese and Hebrew, and the one thing I promise you is that nobody speaks grammatically correct.
It’s true; think about where you come from and what you learned in school, then ask yourself, do you speak grammatically correct?

From my own experience living in Brazil after spending six months in a very intensive school learning Portuguese, I felt ready to venture out and start talking with people.

What happened? I started correcting other people’s Portuguese!!! How ridiculous is that? How arrogant, even though technically speaking, I was right.

Native teachers also help in so many other ways like :

Improving listening and pronunciation skills

Understanding differences in culture

Clarifying things that cause you confusion

So......When should I take a non-native teacher?

If you are a beginner to a lower intermediate level student and your teacher can’t speak your language, you might want to think twice before taking a native teacher. Don’t get us wrong; we don’t believe in learning English based on your first language. It’s only; the classroom needs to be enjoyable, where the student doesn’t have to exert enormous amounts of energy always trying to understand the lessons. A native teacher who can’t speak to you in your language will create this kind of atmosphere. In our opinion, beginners should be put with teachers who can either speak your language or non-native teachers who have mastered The English Language. Mastered not just the grammar, but more importantly, the sound of it.

If your teacher is just a native and thinks this qualifies them to teach you, let me assure you, it’s not enough. 
You might be surprised, but actually, it makes perfect sense. Think of something in your own language, and now try to explain it! Not as easy as you would think, but it’s perfectly normal to take our own language for granted.

So what can we do to discover if our teacher has any experience teaching? Try to ask them to give you an example of a countable and an uncountable noun or an example of why we use the simple present. If unable to quickly answer questions like these, it’s not a very good sign.

Love Teaching

Lastly, and I mention this any time I speak about looking for a great teacher, there is one ingredient that must be there to have excellent classes, and that, of course, is a passion for teaching.

The difference between a good teacher and a great one is they care, have a love of teaching. and a need to help you.

Let us show you!


Daniel Casden

Daniel Casden

Ceo of The Nativ English School and the founder of the Nativ English approach to teaching English, Dialect Coach for seasons 3 & 4 of the Netflix series, "The Greenhouse Academy."

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