Discriminatory hiring practices toward non-native English-speaking teachers (NNESTs) have been researched, debated, and criticized globally. Yet, such recruitment practices are still prevalent in the TESOL field due to perceptions of the linguistic prowess of the native English-speaking teacher (NEST). Given the existence of such practices, this study aims to identify the criteria that employers look for when hiring English language teachers in Cairo, to examine how nativeness is ranked within these criteria, and to investigate if there is a connection between the perceptions of administrators, parents, and teachers regarding NNESTs and hiring practices. A mixed-methods research design was employed to gather data regarding the perceptions of Egyptian NNESTs in Cairo. First, a content analysis of six private, international institutions’ career web-pages was undertaken. Second, a correspondence testing treatment was used by sending CVs to the same six institutions used for the content analysis. Third, a questionnaire was distributed to parents of students enrolled at private, international institutions in Cairo. Lastly, interviews with four administrators, two parents and six Egyptian NNESTs were conducted. Results showed that the explicit perceptions towards NNESTs and NESTs expressed by administrators and parents were mostly neutral, with instances of native speaker biases with regards to accent preferences and cultural competence. NNESTs interviewed also narrated feelings of inferiority and disparate situations before and after employment when compared to their NEST colleagues. It has been illustrated by administrators and parents that there is a lack of understanding of what native speakerism is and how some of their explicit and implicit perceptions may perpetuate the native speaker fallacy. These findings indicate the need for awareness-raising content focusing on native speakerism in teacher training programs, TESOL programs, and other ESL/EFL workshops. Additionally, implementing intercultural learning projects both within Egyptian ELTE programs and within the language learning classroom can help dispel near-native ideals and anxieties while also exposing students to World Englishes, which is necessary to be able to communicate with other non-native English speakers such as most living in Egypt. These implications will ultimately yield an environment where embracing trans-speakerism is possible, emphasizing diversity, equity and inclusion for English language teachers and learners in Egypt.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date

Winter 1-31-2024

Submission Date


First Advisor

Mariah Fairley

Committee Member 1

Reem Bassiouney

Committee Member 2

Nadia Shalaby


199 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item