Teaching in the foreign language classroom: How being a native or non-native speaker of German influences culture teaching

Carla Ghanem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The study explores the complexities associated with graduate language instructors’ NS/NNS identities and teaching of culture. Researchers, who work mainly in the English as a Second/Foreign Language field, have been discussing this divide and have examined the advantages and disadvantages each group brings to the profession, but not the influence this divide might have on teaching practices, especially in regards to teaching the culture. Research on foreign language teachers other than English is almost non-existent. This study investigates eight graduate instructors of German – four NSs and four NNSs of German at a large southwestern US university. The participants included novice and advanced instructors teaching different levels of German. The findings illustrate that NS/NNS identities influenced graduate instructors’ self-perception, confidence, and comfort in the classroom in regard to teaching culture. In discussing their identities, instructors also used various interpretive repertoires, underscoring their individuality and their experiences. The study’s findings suggest that the NS/NNS teacher identities need to be included in training in order to support FL language teaching and learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-186
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 16 2015



  • FL instructors
  • identity
  • native/non-native speaker teachers
  • teaching culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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