Episode 8

David D. Perrodin

My dear fellow applied linguistics researcher friends…

At the end of Episode 7, I asked you to stay tuned for the next episode when I would share the challenges of coming up with a single term that would encompass all non-local non-native and native teachers of English. So, here we go….

As I mentioned in the last episode, I wanted to look at subjective experiences of teaching English from the point of view of ALL non-local non-native and native teachers of English. Now we all know that the terms non-native English speaker and native English speaker are two of the last remaining terms from a floundering patriarchal antiquated belief that only native English speakers can teach English.

Quite often, the term non-native English speaker could be construed as offensive. So, I cringed when I heard some of the most talented teachers of English from Southeast Asia recalling how they were turned down for teaching jobs, for which they were well-qualified, just because they were non-native speakers of English. I equally winced when I heard about equally talented native speakers of English from Western countries who were grossly overcharged for housing and other services because of their ethnicity or nationality.

Throughout my preliminary data collection stage, I had the opportunity to speak with several outstanding educators in Thailand. I found that regardless of one’s ethnicity, nationality, gender, and other similar factors, all non-local non-native and native teachers of English faced similar issues of either being privileged for one thing and marginalized for another. I knew if I wanted to address the issues of the masses, I had to come up with a single homogenous term that would encompass all non-local non-native, and native English teachers.

Serendipitously I came across a book by Fought (2006). They discussed the term extralocal. They continued that extralocal simply means not being part of a local ethnicity or not being from a local area. I thought of words like extraterrestrial or extraordinary. Extraterrestrial simply means not originating from the earth and extraordinary means beyond ordinary. So, I thought the term extralocal, meaning originating from outside of a local area or ethnicity, would work very well for my research.

After several weeks of pondering over the literature about existing terms for non-local non-native and native English speakers, I realized that everyone, regardless of being non-native or native, are not part of the ethnicity nor are they from the place where they teach. There you go. I had confirmed my answer. EXTRALOCAL it is!

Most importantly, extralocal did not seem to have the negative stigma of non-native English speaker, nor did it have the perceived advantage of native English speaker. I decided that the term extralocal could be practically used in my research, without any negative connotation, for one homogeneous label for all non-local non-native and native non-local English teachers.

Now I had to start introducing a new term into the vast field of ELT and hoping that the extralocal would ‘catch on.’

Stay tuned for the next episode of “From the Mind of a Developing Researcher,” when I will share with you the challenges of collecting qualitative interview data during a global pandemic.

My Favorite Books

  1. Braine, G. (Ed.). (1999). Non-native Educators in English Language Teaching. Routledge.
  2. Fought, C. (2006). Language and ethnicity. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Medgyes, P. (2002). Laughing Matters: Humour in the Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press.
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