Do Filipinos really do it better?

This message is a comment on a post by Danielle 'Filipinos do it better'. I had to comment because this post is wrong on many levels. It seems to typify a common sentiment held by many Filipinos (as well as other nationality teachers) that they, as a group, are actually superior as teachers compared with anyone that they like to label as "so-called native speakers". This seems largely rooted in bitterness to do with school hiring policies as well as a reflection of thinking that can be seen in some of the questionable ideas found in the academic field of world Englishes.

I have worked with Filipino teachers, and it has been no easy task. The English material they produce for students is consistently riddled with grammar errors and inappropriate language. In addition to that, students have complained to me that they find their teaching confusing and tedious. In spite of these problems, the teachers are very conceited and like to throw their weight around in the workplace. It seems that they have a high opinion of themselves as teachers based on teaching qualifications they have attained which seem most likely of very questionable quality.

Thai educational institutions would, in fact, be much better off just using Thai teachers, as at least Thai teachers can explain things in Thai if students do not understand. If your average Filipino teacher cannot produce English accurately, then the advantage of hiring them over Thai teachers seems very questionable. Of course, there probably are some good Filipino English teachers, but my observation of the abilities of the teachers I have encountered is enough to show that the blanket statement 'Filipinos do it better' is not based on fact.

Jim Hensby


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