Critical Review of Cook,  V. (1999). Going Beyond the Native Speaker in Language Teaching

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Critical Review #1
Review: Cook, V. (1999). Going beyond the native speaker in language teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 33(2), 185. In his article, Cook argues that the emphasis or dependence of native speaker model(NSM) in language teaching is not necessary. It is time to adopt non-native models both for language learning and teaching, and he provides some possible teaching methods. Firstly, Cook defines the native speaker and L2 users. Then he discusses the slight but salient differences between monolingual native speakers and multilingual native speakers in terms of “multicompetence” so that there is no stable NSM. He also argues NSM is implicit and L2 users are actually using L2 differently instead of deficiently from monolingual bias perspective, which means native-speaker level is not a must, even impractical, to most of L2 users because they do not need to proclaim their identity through the L2 and only few L2 users have achieved native-speaker proficiency. After this series of arguments, Cook proposes some practical suggestions of successful L2 user as models and applying L1 for teaching methods. Cook concludes that more emphasis should be added on the skillful L2 users and on using L1, and teaching language is not to imitate native speakers but to help learners so that L2 learners are successful in terms of multicompetent. In general this article is refreshing, especially 14 years ago. I absolutely agree with Cook that successful L2 learners are “successful multicompetent speakers, not failed native speakers” (p. 204). In non-English-speaking countries like China where English is neither an official language nor a lingua franca, a simple English native speaker, without teaching experiences or educational professional background, can be admired as a language specialist or an English authority only because he speaks so-called “pure English”. It is the time, 14 years later after this article has been published, to establish a positive image of...
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