This post is on something I have been thinking about for a while and was finally inspired to write about today by the #ELTchat earlier this morning. The chat’s title was, “Should ELT organisations support NNests and stop discrimination against them?” Here is the summary of the chat.
On Twitter, I saw one friend suggest the title of the chat should be “How should ELT organizations support NNests and stop discrimination against them?” because it clearly it is not a reasonable yes or no question and organizations most definitely should be doing this. I am honestly not convinced ELT orgs are doing a whole heck of a lot so maybe we could think of the ELTchat title as something like “Why aren’t ELT orgs doing more and how can they get started?” I suppose this is not exactly my topic for today, though. I have just one specific case I’d like to consider. I am not completely sure what I think about this so I’d very much welcome any thoughts or opinions.
A relatively recent addition to the KOTESOL website is a job board. While I might wonder if this is an example mission creep or a case of an organization getting away from core strengths, the most noticeable aspect of this board for me was how some of ads (around half at a quick look) are for native speakers only. I might also wonder if I am being ridiculous to write about a fledgling job board which hasn’t seen a new ad posted in nearly a month. I do think there are important things at play here and things worth thinking about and considering regardless of the size or age of the board.
TEFL Equity Advocates has a nice page where anti-discriminatory statements from various groups are shared, notably including a 2006 “Position Statement Against Discrimination of Nonnative Speakers of English in the Field of TESOL” from TESOL. Also found on the TEFL Equity Advocates blog is the fact TESOL Global and TESOL France have officially condemned and prohibited all job ads which discriminate against NNESTs.
Should KOTESOL do the same? Does not doing so or not having done so yet mean K0TESOL is behind the times and deserves our criticism on this issue? I am not so sure.
One key here in Korea when considering such ads is how certain titles/jobs/roles will only allow applicants with certain passports (7 countries deemed native English speaking) to receive visas. This is an immigration issue and not based on the hiring bodies or the preferences of customers/students.
Previously I have taken exception to KOTESOL leaders seeming proud about having 30% Korean membership. This never sounded like a high number to me it’s the number I’ve heard. Is it reasonable or ethical or appropriate to share job ads automatically excluding 30% of membership? I don’t think so. Please note, the number of members excluded in these ads would actually be higher because there are members who are neither “native speakers” nor Korean. Should KOTESOL take steps to be on the right side of history on this issue even if it means sometimes wasting the time of people who couldn’t get the visa anyway?
Should KOTESOL take steps to follow the lead of organizations like TESOL even if it means cutting a few ads? Should KOTESOL be a model for change in this industry? Is eliminating discriminatory job ads a good start to supporting NNests and stopping discrimination against them?