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  1. Remembering Vocabulary and Grammar
  2. Are Native Speakers of English better English Teachers than Non-Native Speakers?



Remembering Vocabulary and Grammar

Remembering (and understanding how to use) grammar and vocabulary is not easy. Here are some memory techniques which can help you.


1. Use new words regularly. 

Use the new words and grammar you learned in your everyday life. Use them when you talk to your teachers, other students, school staff, etc. If you not use language you learn, you will forget it quickly.


2. Use flash cards.

Write new words on small cards. On the back, write the definition, a synonym (a word with similar meaning), an antonym (a word with opposite meaning) and its pronunciation. Take the flash cards with you so you can study them on your way to school or while waiting for your friends.


3. Read. Listen.

The more you see, hear and use a word, the easier it is to remember. You can do this by reading and listening to things in English. You can read novels or articles, listen to audio books or watch movies in English. Reading and listening also helps you see how a word is used in different ways. This helps you use words and expressions correctly in different situations. 


4. Organize your vocabulary.

Keep an organized vocabulary notebook. Your notebook should have the words, translations, definitions, example sentences, synonyms and antonyms and pronunciation. You can post the list on your wall or carry it in your bag so you can check it often. Make sure that you practice using new vocabulary in sentences; don’t just try to memorize a list.


5. Use mnemonics.

A mnemonic is a word, phrase or short sentence that can help us remember something. For example, if you want to remember the spelling of believe and receive, you can use the mnemonic ‘i before e, except after c’. You can create your own mnemonics to help you remember something.


6. Limit the words you learn and choose them carefully.

Only memorize about 5 - 15 words in a day. It will be hard to remember a lot of words at once. Also, choose the words that you learn so they are relevant or useful to you.


7. Make use of visuals (pictures, drawings, diagrams etc).

These can help you remember words and connect new words to ones that you already know. If you like drawing, draw a picture of the word or something related to it. You can also create pictures in your head by imagining the new word (some people find that making the picture funny or exaggerating it really helps memory).



Are Native Speakers of English better English Teachers than Non-Native Speakers?

Many people assume that Native Speaker English Teachers (NESTs) are better teachers of English than Non-Native Speaker English Teachers (NNESTs). However, in the last few years, some English teaching professionals (native and non-native) have questioned if this is really true.


Many experts argue that experience and teaching qualifications are the most important factors. Of course, a high proficiency in English is also necessary. Here are some important areas where there may be differences between NESTs and NNESTs:


Understanding Learners

NNESTs generally have a better understanding of students’ problems and how they feel about learning. Many NESTs have little or no experience of learning another language so they may not understand many of the problems language learners have.


Quality of English

Well-educated NESTs are less likely to make mistakes when using English. However, even NESTs with university degrees may make mistakes which a NNEST with high English proficiency would not make.


Language Needs

Most students need English for international communication, and it is likely that they will be talking mostly to other non-native speakers. NNESTs are more likely to recognise this; many native speakers teach vocabulary and expressions which are only known in their own country. However, students planning to work or study in a native English-speaking country would certainly benefit from having a NEST from that country.


Explaining Grammar

NNESTs are generally better at this because they have studied grammar. Native speakers often cannot explain why something is correct or not, but their grammar usage is likely to be more natural.


Explaining Vocabulary

NESTs usually know more words than NNESTs, and they also better understand the differences between words (but this does not mean they can always explain these differences).



NESTs are less likely to make mistakes or have problems with difficult sounds in English. However, good NNESTs are usually easier to understand because they speak more clearly.



Considering the above points, one can argue that students whose English level is low may benefit more from NNESTs while intermediate or advanced students may gain more from NESTs. One can also argue that students benefit most from having both NEST and NNEST teachers who have experience and recognised qualifications.


This article was researched and written by two NESTs (British & American) and one NNEST (Filipino).



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