Have you ever wondered if you should learn English from someone whose first language is English or not? For most countries, like India, where English language classes are popular and people regularly strive to improve their English language skills, finding a teacher who has a learnt level of English is very easy. Most English language schools employ teachers who are fluent in English, are capable of providing quality education, and are usually available at cheaper rates when compared to British teachers.
Are there any benefits to deliberately seeking out a British teacher to learn from?
English and speaking training from a British teacher not only helps you to become an expert in the English language but also to understand the culture, the idioms, slang, and traditions of the speaker’s home country.
At the same time, you’ll also be helping yourself remove any ‘Indian-isms’ in your speech. You may not be aware as you learn, but the sounds you hear from your English teacher will have a real impact on your spoken English. That’s why a British teacher is a far better option when it comes to spoken English. You’ll save yourself from the trouble of having to correct a regional accent later on.
What does it mean to be a ‘native’ English speaker?
A native English speaker is someone who was born in an English-speaking country. They grew up speaking English and learnt the language in a society where English is the dominant first language. They have used the language every day of their lives.
A person who grew up in India and attended an English language school is likely to be fluent in English, yet they can’t be considered a native English speaker as their mother tongue is not English.
There are some differences between the English education and training you can get from native speakers when compared to non-native speakers. Let’s look at these:
1) Learn English from the Source
When someone has been consistently speaking in English since they were born, they can communicate with others using a high level of natural fluency.
Think about yourself – are you able to speak in a second or a third language with the same level of comfort that your mother tongue gives you?
People are naturally adept at their mother tongue. This makes a native language speaker a better choice when it comes to teaching the English language to others.
2) Local Culture and Traditions
Learning a new language isn’t just about memorizing vocabulary and figuring out where articles and prepositions go in a sentence. A true learner must also have knowledge of the history and culture associated with the English language.
A native speaker has a serious advantage here. They can help you understand the many nuances of their culture and inform you about the facts of real-life that movies and TV shows typically exaggerate.
You’ll be able to learn all about the cultural traditions surrounding the English language, and that may even save you from making a faux pas in the future. Language and culture are closely linked to each other. Learning one without the other leaves your English language education incomplete.
3) Learn Local Slang and Idioms
Having grown up immersed in a culture that speaks that the English language, a native speaker is more knowledgeable about popular sayings, idioms, and cultural usages.
A non-native speaker may be unfamiliar with local sayings, popular phrases etc.
Some idioms, like the saying ‘don’t make a mountain out of a molehill’, may be quite difficult to understand without the help of a native speaker. This saying means that you should look at the situation for what it is, and not try to exaggerate it.
Aside from idioms, a native speaker will also know what the local usages for words are. Take for example the saying, ‘That’s so sick!’ in Britain. This is how the youth admire and appreciate something they like, an alternative to the American, ‘That’s so cool!’
But while a native British speaker may be aware of this, a non-native speaker may not be.
4) Develop your Speech
Unless you learn spoken English from a native speaker, you run the risk of not sounding right when you later try to speak in English. Have you ever noticed that when a native speaker uses English, their inflections and accent differs from that of a non-native speaker?
A non-native speaker may be grammatically correct, but if they can’t speak authentically, then this could affect you too. Your spoken English will sound incorrect as well, especially to other native English speakers. It’s far more difficult to change your accent once you’re used to speaking a certain way.
Learning English from a native speaker gives you the opportunity to learn how to authentically speak in English right from the beginning. For accents, native speakers are the best teachers to turn to.
A study compared native language speaking teachers to non-natives and found that native language speaking teachers consistently have an advantage when it comes to teaching students how to fluently speak in English.
5) Use Online English Training for Easy Access
Before the explosion of the internet, it might have been difficult for you to find a native English speaker in your region in India. Unless you live in a metro or a big city, the chances of your town having a large English language school that hires native English speakers is slim.
But thanks to the internet, you can now make use of online English training to learn how to speak English from anyone you want. Many native English speakers love to teach online. An online native English language teacher can also act as a language buddy for you. A language buddy is a person who gently helps you to progress towards your English language goals. They speak to you in English regularly, and this lets you practice your spoken English consistently. They’ll fix your grammar and help you grow as an English language learner.
6) Gain the Ability to Speak English Confidently
If you’re learning English, then there’s a good chance that you want to be able to communicate with native speakers someday. You may need English for your business, or because you want to study abroad – but either way you’re bound to run into native speakers eventually.
Unless you actually start talking to a native speaker, you can feel intimidated if a situation presents itself by surprise. By practising and engaging with a native English speaker on a regular basis, you gain the confidence that will allow you to communicate easily with any English speaker you want to talk to.
A native English teacher is ideal for students who want to learn more than just English grammar and vocabulary. Learn how to perfect your spoken English and gain the confidence to speak English just like a native from a British English speaker!