The Motivation for
Creating the WATESOL NNEST Caucus
TESOL Inc. established
its Non-Native English Speaking Teachers (NNEST) Caucus back in 1998, to help
fight discrimination against NNESTs and to help educate TESOL professionals,
administrators, and employers to the genuine benefits that NNESTs bring to English
Language Teaching. Since that time the NNEST Caucus has proved a bona fide
success with almost 1,200 members, with several anthologies on NNEST issues in
print or in press, with over 40 presentation titles at the Long Beach TESOL
Convention where the acronym “NNEST” appeared in the title. The efforts of the
TESOL NNEST Caucus had been supported by many members of the local TESOL
community prior to 2004 including, Silvio Avendano, Godele Gulikers, Me Young
Kim, Ximena Suarez, Gloria Park, Sarah Shin, Karen Taylor, and Brock Brady. (I
know this list is not inclusive; forgive me if I left you out and drop me a
line at email@example.com).
Still, many people locally
are not familiar with the basic issues or research concerning non-native
English speaking teachers, and employment discrimination is an issue that
arises regularly. This being the case, in Fall 2004 the WATESOL Board
authorized the creation of an NNEST Caucus.
NNEST Caucus' goals are the
- Build awareness among WATESOLers about
NNEST issues, esp. the strengths that NNESTs often bring to English
- Contact local institutions making the
case for NNESTs, and asking the institutions to fully and fairly consider
NNEST candidates when making hiring decisions
- Provide job search advice and counseling
for NNESTs; esp. those trying to get started.
- Create a reference service where
participating NNESTs can provide tips on their home educational cultures
to NEST WATESOL members planning go abroad to teach in the NNESTs' home
- Encourage collaboration between fellow
NNESTS, and between both NNESTs and NESTs, both in terms of research and
in peer teaching.
- Dedicate one presentation session to
research on NNEST issues each year at WATESOL’s Fall Convention. (Proposals
for this session would be vetted as all Fall Convention proposals are.)
(Together with CATESOL NNLEI) Our Caucus is the only NNEST entity that functions as part of a local TESOL affiliate.
CATESOL (California TESOL) has
had Non-Native Language Educators' Issues Interest Group since 1992.
discussions with the Board and other interested WATESOL members, there seems to
be little desire to consider a NNEST SIG (Special Interest Group). A
primary argument for establish an NNEST entity as a caucus was that SIGs and
caucuses may fulfill very different roles. Karen Taylor made a very good
argument about this during the annual 2004 TESOL NNEST Caucus Business Meeting
at the Long Beach Convention in March: SIGs tend to be about where you teach,
Caucuses tend to be about who you are (or whom you choose to advocate for).
Thus, the WATESOL
NNEST Caucus was established to...
- provide educational outreach on NNEST
issues, in both our local TESOL community and in the wider educational
- be an explicit venue for NNESTs to
address employment issues, and
- help WATESOL to be seen as an innovative
organization, responsive to its members needs, and inclusive in its