Language education for non-native speaker language teachers


  • Emma Riordan UCC



Non-Native Speaker Language Teachers, Language Teacher Training, LSP


For non-native speaker language teachers (NNSLT), that is, teachers who teach a language which is not their own first language, one very important skill is competence in the target language. However, the development and maintenance of language skills are often neglected in language teacher training for language teachers. It is assumed that the trainees have already reached the requisite level of competence prior to entry into teacher training programmes, or that the general language courses available to them are sufficient in addressing these language needs. In this paper I argue for the introduction of a new area of Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) to deal with the language skills needed by this learner group. I examine the literature relating to language for non-native speaker language teachers and review research in the teaching of language to NNSLTs. I describe a language course designed specifically for the education of non-native speaker teachers of English at a German university. Questionnaires, surveys and pre- and post-testing methods were used to evaluate the course. The study’s results suggest that the LSP approach is both feasible and successful in improving student teachers’ language skills for the purposes of teaching.

Author Biography

Emma Riordan, UCC

Emma Riordan is Lecturer in German and Applied Linguistics at UCC. She is secretary of the German Studies Association of Ireland and member of the national executive committee of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics. She obtained her Ph.D. in 2014 at the Centre for Language and Communication Studies, Trinity
College Dublin. Her monograph Language for Teaching Purposes: Bilingual classroom discourse and the non-native speaker language teacher will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017. Her research interests include language teaching and learning, discourse analysis, language policy and language teacher training.




How to Cite

Riordan, E. (2018). Language education for non-native speaker language teachers. TEANGA, the Journal of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics, 24, 44–55.




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