It’s important to choose a good English teacher to work with you when you’re learning English. Without a good English tutor, you’ll spend money to slow down your English learning progress. Worse, you might get even more confused with the knowledge that you have before you met the bad tutor!

The next question is, who’s a better English teacher for you – Native English Speaking Teacher (NEST) or a Non-Native English Speaking Teacher (NNEST)?

What’s the Difference Between a Native and Non-Native Speaker?

Generally, a native English speaker is a person who’s from an English speaking country like the USA, the UK, and Ireland. However, because people are moving around the world more frequently nowadays, you’ll also meet NESTs who hold a passport from non-English speaking countries. These days, anyone who speaks English as a first language is considered as a native English speaker as well.

On the contrary, non-native English speaking teachers are teachers who speak English as a second language. They are typically more comfortable with their mother tongue and have learned English in a formal classroom.

Regardless, NESTs aren’t necessarily the best and NNESTs aren’t necessarily less fluent. Both these types of teachers bring their distinct strengths and weaknesses to the classroom.

Native English Speaking Teachers (NESTs)


The “Authentic” Experience

George Braine, a researcher of applied linguistics, suggested that native speakers speak better intuitively than non-native speakers. They rarely have to think about what to say because everything comes instinctively to them. They simply know what’s right and wrong.

Besides, because they’ve grown up in a place where English is spoken all the time, they offer cultural contexts that work well with English. They learn the rules and strategies of communication the moment they learn to speak. This gives you the advantage of learning English most naturally in different contexts and situations.

More Current and Up-To-Date

Like every language, English evolves and develops over time. Since NESTs grew up with English, their speech flows naturally with modern contexts. Simply said, they don’t speak like textbooks. With a NEST, you’ll learn slangs and casual colloquialisms popular in English-speaking countries.

Besides that, NESTs are also more flexible and creative with their language because they are more familiar with English. They’ll be able to show you different ways to think about and say things. You’ll have more up-to-date and flexible with English when you learn English from a native English speaking teacher.


They Don’t Use English Consciously

Online English learning platforms often lower their standards so that native English speakers are more likely to apply even if they are not qualified. Because they didn’t have to learn English formally, untrained NESTs might struggle with explaining language structures to you. Besides that, they might also be ignorant of your learning process. Before long, you might find yourself overwhelmed and stressed out before you learn anything useful.

Non-native English Teachers (NNESTs)

They Understand and Able to Explain the Structure of English

One of the most common misconceptions of NNESTs is that they aren’t as fluent as NESTs. This couldn’t be further than the truth! NNESTs use English consciously by continuously observe and correct themselves. Some NNESTs can even speak better English than NESTs.

Besides that, NNESTs are often better at breaking down and analyzing language structures because they learned it like this. This means that they are better at explaining complicated structures in English than NESTs. They can also supply more information about English to you since they’re truly passionate about English. With a NNEST, you’ll be able to learn the fine details of English.

They Are a Source of Motivation

Some students see NNESTs as a source of motivation. If their non-native teacher can achieve native-like proficiency, there’s no reason why they can’t. This inspires students to work harder and participate more in classrooms. 

Students might also find it motivating because NNESTs are often more empathetic to their English learning process. Their teacher have made the same mistakes and had the same problems once upon a time. So, it’s often less embarrassing or stressful for students to make mistakes in class.


Not As Secure With Their Language Skills Than Native Teachers

NNESTs often struggle with providing a real-life version of English. Since they learned English in a classroom, their version of English might be stiffer and more formal than current English. Because most of them haven’t grown up in English-speaking settings, they might also lack certain cultural references and strategies for modern English. The combination of these factors might impact your learning process if they feel insecure or incompetent in their skills.


You could be gunning for the promotion that requires a B2 in English. You could be a student who wants an A for your English final exam. No matter what the reason is, students normally enroll in English classes for a very specific reason.

So, the first question you’ve got to ask yourself is: what do you want to achieve? Do you want to learn conversational English? Are you studying English for a test? Your teacher should be able to contribute to your goals regardless of their native status. For example, if you want to improve your accent when speaking English, you should opt for a NEST. If you want to understand the difference between present and past continuous tense, a NNEST might be better for you.

That being said, trained NESTs make the best teachers because they provide the guidance you need in addition to knowing English naturally. Not only that, but you’d also reap the full cultural benefits of learning English with a native speaker if your end goal is native-like proficiency.

Although it’s more convenient to learn English online, it’s always better to practice with your teacher over a cup of coffee. This way, you get to create an environment that’s immersive and comfortable. No matter if you’re in Asia or Africa, learning English with TUTOROO will be a breeze since you can connect with any native teacher living in your city whenever you want.