The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

THBT we should learn english with a native speaker than a non-native speaker

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 513 times Debate No: 77567
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Hello, there is 4 rounds of this debate
2. explaining
3. explaining
4. concluding


Thank you to PRO for enforcing this debate. Seeing that PRO has not provided any definitions nor laid down any ground rules, I would like to do so for him.


Native speaker: A person who has spoken the language in question from earliest childhood [1]
Non-native speaker: Someone who has another native tongue than the language being used [2]


1. Please observe civilised etiquette and refrain from ad hominem
2. Should one forfeit, they must state their reason for forfeiture in the comments section or in the succeeding round, the legitimacy of said reason will be determined through negotiation
3. Have fun!

Once again, thank you to PRO and I look forward to an interesting debate!


Debate Round No. 1


brianjustin3709 forfeited this round.


cathaystewie forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Native Speakers can not learn students challenges.



CON states that native speakers cannot fully empathize with the difficulty their students face. This can be rebuffed in two ways. Firstly, the motion states the contention to be whether 'we' should learn WITH native/non native speakers, not learn FROM. Hence, CON's arguments which is based on a student-teacher relationship does not stand. Secondly, we see (as per my definitions) that the difference between a native and non-native speaker does not concern that of ability. CON's argument ignores this and assumes that there is a difference in ability between the native and non-native speaker, thus giving rise to the student-teacher scenario.


Since the topic at hand is learning WITH, we shall be discussing both the non-native and native speaker as students. Generally speaking, it is precisely because there exists a difference between the native and non-native speakers in terms of their understanding of more intangible aspects of a language that makes for a more fruitful learning experience for both students. There can be an exchange of perspectives, whereby the native speaker with a more in-depth understanding of the language at hand, in this case, English, can share his take and viewpoint on English with that of a non-native speaker, while the non-native speaker may be able to offer another candid and more culturally neutral way of viewing English that the native speaker may have never even thought existed.

Please bear in mind that I am comparing non-native speakers with native speakers in terms of their understanding of a language's 'intangible aspects', rather than purely ability. A non-native speaker can have equal or better mastery of a language in terms of being able to speak it fluently and use it on a daily basis in any occasion, but they may not grasp more abstract aspects of a language (etymology, regional slang, idioms, etc.) as thoroughly as the native speaker.

Thank you and I await CON's response. Please be reminded that no new arguments should be brought up in the next round as it is the final round of this debate.
Debate Round No. 3


Responding to non-native speakers of English

Sheryl Holt
Writing Studies

Most instructors encounter non-native speakers of English or ESL students (students with English as their second language) in their classes at one point or another. Although native speakers of English also have problems with writing, non-native speakers' problems can be quite different, and the approach taken by the instructor needs to be different as well. The following list of ideas and suggestions will help you recognize and respond to the typical problems for ESL students. Some services are available on campus to help non-native speakers, but the majority of the improvement will need to come from comments made by the instructor. Although standards for grading must remain the same for native and non-native speakers in a class, the instructor may need to alter the approach of teaching and commenting slightly for the non-native speaker.


Generally, instructors find non-native speakers' papers overwhelming because there are several issues that need to be addressed. It is sometimes difficult to determine if the student is simply a weak writer, or if too little time has been spent on the draft, or if the kinds of mistakes stem from a lack of knowledge and experience of U.S. academic writing standards. While their American peers are usually satisfied and sufficiently directed with a few well-worded comments, most non-native speakers expect and need more extensive commenting. In fact, the role of the teacher in most countries is to correct everything, so even the comments the American instructor gives may seem inadequate to many of the international students. Most ESL-trained teachers say that they take the following approaches with their students.

Specific approaches to typical problems for non-native speakers


The most obvious problem for virtually all ESL writers is grammar.

Recognizing grammar problems is so easy that it tends to mask the more serious problems of the ESL writer. It may also mask the good points of the paper and cause you to overlook the depth or insights presented in the paper. Writing grammar corrections all over a paper causes a student to focus only on grammar and not realize that "fixing the grammar" may not significantly improve the other problems. Most ESL writers cannot focus on both grammar and development of ideas at the same time. They must first write their ideas and then edit for grammar.

Possible alternative approaches:

  • Comment on grammar only after the organization and content of the paper are reviewed, so you will avoid the trap of over-correcting the grammar and ignoring the content.
  • Put a lot of written comments about organization and ideas and only circle grammar errors (if they are minor).
  • Ask the student to hand in another draft for grammar comments after the ideas are more organized.
  • If there are some consistent problem areas (ignore article problems, since they are so complex in English), then correct or provide a rule for that area and ask the student to correct THAT mistake throughout the paper. An ESL specialist at Student Writing Support can help with article usage.
  • Decide what is tolerable WRITING ACCENT—ideas are understandable though the paper still contains minor errors such as singular/plural agreement problems and article errors.
  • Suggest that the student use Student Writing Support with a trained ESL specialist.


Sometimes for cultural reasons, non-native writers may have fewer written connections between ideas.

There will often be jumps between ideas with fewer written explanations of how the ideas are connected. Many cultures, particularly Asian cultures, would not insult the intelligent reader (especially a professor) by stating the obvious connections between ideas. American readers, on the other hand, want all connections of thought and transitions stated in black and white, not between the lines. Comments on papers must be more specific than "This is not clear." Another aspect of this problem is the lack of examples or specific explanation for ideas. Compared to other cultures, students often say we "beat a dead horse" with explanations, examples and other evidence.



At this point I would normally thank my opponent for his arguments/rebuttals/analysis, but I am afraid this cannot be said in this case. I am going to discount CON's content in the final round for two reasons:

1. CON brings up new arguments on why native speakers of a language cannot act as suitable teachers for ESL students, despite my statement in the third round which calls for no new arguments in the final round. CON him/herself also agrees upon this by clarifying in the first round that the final round be reserved only for 'concluding'.

2. Though I appreciate CON pasting the link from which he used as a reference for his content, I would like to point out that all of what he/she has 'written' in the final round is actually a carbon copy of the text that is on said link. Please be reminded that including the link does not exempt one of plagiarism, nor does doing so automatically accredit the content to you. One may take statistics, photos, videos or even paraphrase text off of another source, but never copy it word for word. This is, after all, a debate, not a competition to see who can find the best sources.

Though I am technically not obligated to do so, I would still like to point out major flaws in CON's "arguments".

1. Once again, I reiterate that this motion uses the word 'with' instead of what CON sees to be 'from'. I learn WITH other students, and I learn FROM my teachers. CON's entire chunk of text in the final round talks about how teachers are incapable of comprehending the challenges that students face due to cultural and capability barriers, to which I have never denied. For CON to use this argument in the context of this debate, he/she must justify that native speaker students have the same detrimental impact on non-native speaker students when both are placed in the same learning environment.

2. If CON is to refer to my definitions (I took the liberty to define since he/she did not), he/she would realise that native and non-native speakers are not segregated by a difference in ability, but rather when they take it upon themselves to learn the language. Thus, all of CON's arguments concerning an inconsistency between non-native speakers and ESL speakers in terms of their understanding of things such as grammar and commentation and the teacher-student correlation in general does not stand.

Thank you to CON for establishing this debate, though I was hoping for a more orderly and exciting debate, but a duly win on my part for this debate would suffice. Vote PRO as PRO was the only side of the house that actually conjured up original arguments which were unrefuted and were relevant to the motion. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by cathaystewie 1 year ago
Whoops when I say "PRO" I mean "CON"
Posted by cathaystewie 1 year ago
Sorry for the forfeiture. I was caught up in my own work and I saw that PRO had not delivered any arguments so I forfeited this time round. I will be delivering my arguments in the next round and hope that PRO will do the same.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bballcrook21 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not use sources; the source that Con used, he directly plagiarized from. I will award neither with any points. Conduct goes to Pro as he had the decency of being civil, and I find copying an article to be very disrespectful. Argument goes to Pro since he made an actual argument and Con's was plagiarized. Spelling to Pro since Con didn't properly capitalize some words.