How Are Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers Perceived by Young Learners?

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The current study examined the effects of Korean elementary school teachers' accents on their students' listening comprehension. It also examined students' attitudes toward teachers with American-accented English (a native speaker model) and Korean-accented English (a nonnative speaker model). A matched-guised technique was used. A Korean American individual recorded texts in both American-accented English and Korean-accented English. The study randomly assigned 312 Grade 6 Korean students to listen to one of these two recorded oral texts and their comprehension was examined. Next, all of the students listened to both accented-English tapes and their attitudes toward the two speakers (which were in fact the same speaker) were examined. Although the popular belief appears to assume that nonnative accented English would produce a negative effect on students' oral skills, the results failed to find any differences in student performance in terms of comprehension. However, the Korean children thought that the American-accented English guise had better pronunciation, was relatively more confident in her use of English, would focus more on fluency than on accuracy, and would use less Korean in the English class. The students also expressed a preference to have the American-accented English guise as their English teacher.

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Copyright © Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL). Postprint version. This article may not be an exact replica of the final version published by TESOL. It is not the copy of record. Published in TESOL, Volume 41, Issue 4, December 2007, pages 731-755. Publisher URL:
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