Employing native English-Speaking teachers for English courses: Stakeholders’ perceptions

Native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) are needed to teach English at

many universities in Vietnam because they are commonly regarded as

models for communication in English. Yet, does this rationale correspond

with the views of students who enrolled in high-quality programmes and

administrators (departmental and functional leaders who are administering

the programmes)? This article reports on research carried out with

university students and leaders at University A (A pseudonym was used for

the researched institution) in Vietnam, exploring stakeholders’ (specifically

students and institutional leaders) perceptions of employing NESTs to teach

English speaking skills. Data were collected through an open-ended

questionnaire with 65 students and in-depth interviews with 40 students

(those who participated in the interviews also responded to the

questionnaire) and interviews with four leaders. Data were thematically

analysed through an inductive approach. The major factors that could help

NESTs meet students’ expectations were their teaching methods and the

extent to which they could interact with students together with

communicative competence and cultural knowledge. Students viewed NESTs

as models for communicating in English but also had difficulty in

understanding these teachers when there were differences in culture and

language uses. It was indicated by leaders that NESTs are employed as a

motivating and diversifying source of teaching staff and marketing

communication figures for the institution. The findings suggest that to meet

students’ expectations, it is necessary that NESTs improve their teaching

methods, receive training and be under a screening procedure of recruitment

and quality assurance. Employing NESTs is a trend in Vietnam, but quality

procedures need to be established for assuring that these NESTs comply with

the quality expectation at the institution

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Employing native English-Speaking teachers for English courses: Stakeholders’ perceptions
nsider having long-term contracts with them 
through recruitment policies. All the leader 
participants have the same view on the issue: 
It is necessary to consider recruiting 
NESTs as tenured teaching staff so that 
they become responsible and committed 
to teaching for long-term interest. It is 
possible to assign them to teaching a 
complete course. Every semester, the 
staffing of NESTs keeps changing, so 
new NESTs do not know about our 
organisational culture. (DL-INT) 
Long-term contracts may make NESTs 
responsible for students’ learning. It is 
also crucial to assign them more 
teaching hours. (LAA-INT) 
These leaders agreed that employing NESTs is a 
way to market the institution’s brand, especially 
the high quality programmes. 
5. CONCLUSION 
The employment of NESTs for high quality 
programmes at University A was grounded by 
students’ and leaders’ perceptions of their 
linguistic competence. In fact, native speaker 
teachers were necessary for students to improve 
English. This presents a high demand of NESTs 
for English courses at the university. NESTs 
represent motivating models of pronunciation, 
fluency, and communication that helped improve 
students’ speaking and listening skills. These 
teachers provided conditions for students’ practice 
provided that they have appropriate teaching 
methods together with experience. As a good 
example of using natural English, these teachers 
may encourage communication and the 
development of communicative competence. 
However, the concerns of using NESTs are 
associated with their teaching methodology. 
When NESTs lacked sound teaching methods, 
they may fail to engage students in learning. Their 
cultural background can be a source for students 
to learn how to communicate internationally, but 
it also restricts communication and inhibits 
students’ understanding of messages delivered 
due to the lack of shared values. Thus, several 
solutions to address the concerns may include 
offering NESTs proper training, engaging them in 
co-teaching with local English teachers, and 
establishing a standardised procedure for 
recruitment and teaching improvement. The 
findings from this study have posed some areas 
for further examination of the issue being 
addressed. These may include the relationship 
An Giang University Journal of Science – 2019, Vol. 6, 1 – 17 
13 
between students’ learning and the quality of 
NESTs, the possible implementation of co-
teaching for high quality programmes, and the 
effectiveness of NESTs’ teaching and student 
learning outcomes. Another issue to consider is 
investigating the problem from the NESTs’ 
perspectives. 
Acknowledgement 
The authors acknowledge the students and the 
leaders that kindly agreed to participate in this 
study and share their experiences in the 
interviews. 
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APPENDIX A 
Open-ended self-report questionnaire for student participants 
Project title: Employing native English-speaking teachers for English courses: Stakeholders’ perceptions 
Thank you for giving me your time today. The purpose of this questionnaire is to hear from your 
perceptions of employing native English-speaking teachers for English courses. I hope you feel free to be 
frank. I have a list of quesitions I would like you to discuss. 
Please answer the following questions: 
1. What are your expectations when studying English with NESTs? 
 ....................................................................................................................................................................... 
 ....................................................................................................................................................................... 
 ....................................................................................................................................................................... 
 ....................................................................................................................................................................... 
 ....................................................................................................................................................................... 
2. In your view, what are the advantages of learning English with NESTs? 
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 ....................................................................................................................................................................... 
 ....................................................................................................................................................................... 
3. What are the problems you are having with NESTs? 
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4. What could be done to solve the problems? 
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Thank you very much for your help with my research. 
Best wishes, 
An Giang University Journal of Science – 2019, Vol. 6, 1 – 17 
17 
APPENDIX B 
Guiding questions for interviews with leader participants 
Project title: Employing native English-speaking teachers for English courses: Stakeholders’ perceptions 
Thank you for giving me your time today. The purpose of this questionnaire is to hear from your 
perceptions of employing native English-speaking teachers for English courses. I hope you feel free to be 
frank. I have a list of quesitions I would like you to discuss. 
Please answer the following questions: 
1. What are your expectations when employing NESTs to teach the English courses? 
2. In your view, what are the advantages students can have when they learn English with NESTs? 
3. What are the problems students have with NESTs? 
4. What could be done to solve the problems? 
Thank you very much for your help with my research. 
Best wishes, 
Nguyen Vu Phuong 

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