Private ESL schools in Japan are hiring more non-native English speakers, according to an article in The Japan Times. This change of attitude will bring major positive changes to the ESL industry in Japan, but it is ESL students who have to approve first.
Language schools worldwide know the benefits of hiring highly qualified and experienced non-native English speakers instead of young gap-year teachers from English-speaking countries. In many countries, public school programs are starting to hire more local teachers to save money and improve the quality of English language instruction. This is easier to implement for public schools because they do not have to compete for clients.
Native English speakers bring many benefits to the ESL industry, but only if they are prepared for the job. In many occasions, private ESL schools do not require TESOL certification because native English speakers are hired primarily for marketing purposes. This lack of standards hurts ESL students as much as it hurts gap-year teachers, who would enjoy their teaching experience a lot more if they knew how to create fun and effective lesson plans.
Furthermore, attitudes need to change toward teachers who are native English speakers but do not come from Western countries such as USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. The article in The Japan Times shows that many teachers from India and the Philippines have difficulties getting a TESOL job in Japan, but organizations such as The Little Angels English Academy and RareJob.com are changing that for the better.