Can Indians teach English?
Its not that we can.. but we do…
But there are many a native speakers who have certain misconceptions or doubts about Indians and their ability to teach English. And I do not blame them because they are more or less speaking from their experience or their interaction with the Indians they have met so far.
But a mere percentage of Indians one would meet would not represent the whole of India. With this article I would like to clarify that there is more to India than meets the eye.
So what are those misconceptions…
“If I wanted to learn Chinese, I’d much rather learn it from someone who grew up in China (even if they were white!) than from someone who studied it in school for a couple of years.”
Let me clarify, Indians do not study English in some school for couple of years. It is rather the only language in which they study, finish their degree and later work. The corporate world in India does business in English. From media to publication everything is printed in English most of the time. Yes an Indian may not be qualified to teach languages like French, Chinese, German etc. because as rightly pointed out above they study it only for a few years. But that is not the case with English. All the subjects are taught in English from the time a kid starts attending kinder garden.
“Are Indians are more qualified to teach English than their current E-2-qualified counterparts? Do you think most people would agree with that mindset?”
An average Indian would not be qualified enough to teach English. But I am talking about that section where a) They have majored in literature / English b) Have been trained in a call center to interact with natives c) Are working as writers, journalists d) Have cleared their TOEFL, IELTS, CPE, ESOL etc. or e) Are qualified to teach English via TESOL, TEFL, etc. A teaching certification or degree (along with experience) is a must for non-natives. They should have an aptitude for teaching English. Also from what I understand Korean Government is testing out this approach of hiring Indian Teachers and depending upon their performance they may or may not hire more teachers. It is more like an experiment so people will agree after they see the result for themselves.
“So would a student prefer learning English from a native or an Indian?”
It is true that the vox populi of the students in Korea is that Natives can be better English Teachers. But to a great extent the belief is more to do with the exposure. Students here are exposed more to the native English speaking teachers as compared to Indian teachers. Also, the Indians which they (and I) have met here do have problem with their fluency. But that is just a small portion of India that the Koreans are exposed to and the very reason they (including me) are here is not because of their English Speaking skills but their technical or Business skills.
Given an opportunity, any of these guys with considerable experience in teaching and writing will take the initiative to teach English to non English speaking countries like Korea and in a few years put (or rather push) India in the list of preferable countries for teaching English.
This is just the beginning..