Are non-native English speakers qualified for teaching English in Spain ?

Posted by Fatima FERHANE 6 years 5 months ago


This is actually a sometimes heated debate in Barcelona. I can't answer the question for all of Spain as it depends on where you go. As for Barcelona, outside of the city it's not as much of an issue as it's harder to find English teachers in general, but in bigger cities there are so many English teachers available. I don't know what the obsession is, but very often students request and make it a requirement that they only want a "native-speaking English teacher" and there's not debating the topic with them. As a coordinator at an academy I've even had to explain that someone with the name Miguel Gonzalez is British and actually doesn't speak Spanish at all - his parents are Ecuadorian. On the other hand, there are more than enough students who understand that very often the best teachers are the ones who have gone through the process of having learned the language themselves. Native English speakers very often cannot explain the grammar or relate to the struggles of learning the language while a non-native English speaker can do this much better. What it really comes down to is the teacher's level of English and if their accent is clear enough for the students to understand them; however, this goes for any native-English speaker's accent as well.

On the Barcelona Tefl Teacher FB page it is now prohibited to post an ad looking for a "native English speaker teacher" - you have to say "native-level" so that it doesn't matter where the teacher is from.

Personally, I have hired teachers from Mexico, India and Italy. The one teacher who lost his job after one year because of his accent was from Scotland.
It really comes down to experience and qualifications that matter most - Tefl certificate or equivalent. Also, I think it's a good idea to continue to take English lessons or review one's materials or emails with a teacher - the non-native teacher can do this as an exchange.