This study explored the impact of the importation of expatriate English teachers on the morale of the Malaysian English teachers and attempted to identify the perceptions of Malaysian English teachers, expatriate native English-speaking teachers (NESTs), and expatriate nonnative English-speaking teachers (nonNESTs) regarding the practices that are prevalent in Malaysia in areas such as hiring, remuneration, and benefits. An initial questionnaire was completed by the participants to ensure that they fit the target demographic profiled. Then, a semi-structured interview was conducted as a follow-up to the participants' open-ended responses in the second part of the questionnaire. Completed questionnaires were gathered from ten participants, and two semi-structured interviews were conducted with an expatriate NEST and a Malaysian nonNEST respectively. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze responses to the seven-point Likert-scale statements. In addition, this study took a qualitative approach in analyzing the core themes of the responses in the semi-structured interview and the questionnaire. Examining individual survey items and interviews revealed that there is a large discrepancy in wages between NESTs and nonNESTs in Malaysia, and this contributes to the unhappiness and low morale of Malaysian English teachers. In addition, the presence of expatriate NESTs causes Malaysian nonNESTs to have low self-esteem as they compare themselves to their native counterparts. This study also revealed that participants felt that the importation of expatriate NESTs had no significant impact on improving the language proficiency of students. Owing to the perceived failure to deliver desired results, the majority of the participants agreed that hiring qualified and experienced English teachers (not on the basis of one's race or first language) is paramount in improving the language proficiency of Malaysian students. The analysis of the data collected resulted in recommendations for a more in-depth study of the impact of the importation of expatriate NESTs/nonNESTs to the morale of Malaysian nonNESTs and the improvement of the language proficiency of Malaysian students. Also, the contributing factors for the decline of the English proficiency of Malaysian students should be thoroughly evaluated so as to affect change.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type





Expatriate, native teachers, nonnative teachers, self-ascription, inner-circle, outer circle, expanding circle, L1: first language; L2: second language; TESOL: teaching English to speakers of other languages; ELT: English language teaching; NESTs: native English-speaking teachers; nonNESTs: nonnative English-speaking teachers; MOE: Ministry of Education in Malaysia.



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