Native speaker teachers or non-native speaker teachers or independence

A number of people have commented to the effect that they prefer language teachers who are native speakers of their own language.?? Here is one example from my blog:

“I’ve been living in Thailand for a year and have taken Thai lessons from native speakers for most of that time.

I couldn’t write or read and could barely speak. About two weeks ago I started lessons with an american and in two weeks learned to read – something the natives couldn’t teach in a year of study.

I think learning another language from someone who shares your mother language is the best way to learn a language. My new american tutor says it this way: “I can’t teach English, I don’t know how I learned it but I know how I learned Thai and can teach you that process.”

How can you live in Thailand for one year, want to learn the language, interact with a native speaker teacher and not be able to read or speak? This is a far cry from Benny’s three months to fluency. The only explanation is that the learner is dependent on the teacher. The first rule of language learning is independence.

If you spend one year in Thailand, or anywhere else, listening to the language, and slowly teaching yourself to read, while listening, and accumulating words, you cannot help but learn. The native speaker is there to speak to when you are ready. If you wait for a teacher to teach you, you are captive of whatever teaching theory he or she has. Language learning is about learning, not teaching.

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