Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number 4.  December 2022                                             Pp.115-139

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Students’ and Instructors’ Attitudes and Perceptions towards Native and Non-native EFL Teachers
in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Shay Kamal Ahmed
Department of English, College of Languages,
University of Sulaimani
Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Corresponding Author

Necdet Osam
Department of Foreign Language Education
Faculty of Education
Eastern Mediterranean Universi, North Cyprus


Received:07/23/2022             Accepted:10/12/2022                     Published:12/15/2022



English has evolved into an internationally-used language due to the increase in the number of its learners. With the growing demand for English learing, over the last 30 years, the topic of Native English-Speaking Teachers and Non-Native English-Speaking Teachers has become a topic of debate. Thus, the purpose of the current mixed method study was to find out students’ and teachers’ perceptions and attitudes towards NESTs and NNESTs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Since students’ and teachers’ attitudes and perceptions have not been explored about this issue, this study might benefit learners, teachers, stakeholders, and recruiters. In the study, student questionnaires and teacher interviews were administered to answer the following research question: What are students’ and instructors’ perceptions and attitudes towards NESTs and NNESTs, and what strengths and weaknesses do they identify about NESTs and NNESTs? The participants were 345 university students, and 24 EFL teachers. The quantitative data obtained from the student questionnaire were analyzed through SPSS V. 25, and the qualitative data from the teacher interviews were analyzed through thematic analysis. The findings revealed that the students prefer NESTs over NNESTs. However, they also showed positive attitudes towards NNESTs. Similarly, the teachers believed that NESTs and NNESTs have their positives and negatives. The NESTs were preferred for being fluent, natural speakers, and being better at colloquial language. In contrast, NNESTs were thought to excel at having a stronger connection with students, being sympathetic, and understanding students’ needs and difficulties.
Keywords: English language learners, English language teachers, perceptions and attitudes, Kurdistan region
of Iraq, native English-speaking teacher, non-native English-speaking teacher, native-speakerism

Cite as:  Ahmed, S. K., & Osam, N. (2022). Students’ and Instructors’ Attitudes and Perceptions towards Native and Non-native EFL Teachers in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq Arab World English Journal, 13 (4)  130-154.


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Received: 07/23/2022 
Accepted: 10/12/2022 
Published: 12/15/2022

Shay Kamal Ahmed is currently a Research Assistant at University of Sulaimani in Iraqi Kurdistan. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature in 2017 from University of Sulaimani, and her Master’s degree in English Language Teaching in 2021 from Eastern Mediterranean University. She has five years’ experience as an EFL instructor.

Prof. Dr. Necdet OSAM’s research interest is Sociolinguistics with specific reference to language attitudes of diverse cultures, cultural identity, and gender-related speech and behavior. In January 2020, his latest book, “The Dictionary of Testing”, was published.