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Do we need expat teachers?

Published by SchoolAdvisor on Aug 20, 2019, 09:14 AM

One of the biggest attractions of international schools for Malaysian parents is expat teachers. In fact, among the questions asked by parents when researching schools, one of the most common ones is how many expat teachers are there in a particular school? But why? Is this just an obsession with skin colour? The answer as given by several parents is a resounding no.

Learning methodologies take precedence

The biggest reason is there are many parents who believe that an international school that follows the curriculum of a particular country should have expat teachers who are native to that country. For instance, a school that follows the Australian curriculum should have Australian native teachers.

The reason has nothing to do with skin colour but everything to do with learning methodologies. Parents believe that teachers actually native to where the curriculum originates will be able to impart the learning techniques of the curriculum better.

Take for example the learning methodology followed mostly in Malaysia is rote learning and hence it is expected that Malaysian teachers will teach in ways that they have been taught, which is through memorisation. But rote learning is mostly invalid in today’s world as it does not train children to sharpen their analytical and decision-making skills.

And even though training is provided to teachers on the curriculum they teach, the ingrained learning methodologies might still be there, hence the faith on expat teachers.

That coveted accent

Another reason cited by parents for choosing schools with more expat teachers, even if they are costlier, is that they believe their children will learn better English and will speak with a better accent.

English is not a native language for Malaysia and like every non-native English-speaking country, Malaysia too has its own unique English accent. Many parents do not want their children to grow up with this Malaysian English accent and instead want them to have a more neutral or western accent. The reason behind this wish is that, accept it or not English is a global language now, and by having a more neutral or western accent their children will find more acceptance globally.

Good teachers above all

Having said that, Malaysian parents do not disregard their own teachers completely and believe that although expat teachers might know the learning methodologies of a particular curriculum better and have better English accent, it all boils down to how good a teacher is with students and how well they know a subject.

When it comes to choosing between a teacher who is knowledgeable in a subject and good with students against someone who has good accent and is a native to the country of origin of the particular curriculum, most Malaysian parents will choose the former, hands down!

Considering everything, the above are two of the main reasons given by Malaysian parents for spending on international schools that have the greatest number of expat teachers, even if they cost a bomb. The fact is that these reasons are not entirely baseless, is pointed out by an expert in the video.

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