The Effect of Proficiency on “Non-Native” EFL Teachers’ Feelings and Self-Reported Behaviours


Jean-Marc Dewaele, Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom
Pearl P. Y. Leung, Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom
Published: May 27, 2022

Citation: Dewaele, J.-M., & Leung, Pearl P. Y. (2022). The Effect of Proficiency on “Non-Native” EFL Teachers’ Feelings and Self-Reported Behaviours. IAFOR Journal of Education, 10(1).


The current study addresses the question whether the level of proficiency of teachers who teach a “non-native” language, English, affects their attitudes, motivation, well-being and self-reported classroom practices. This quantitative study is based on a cross-sectional research design in order to investigate the relationship between actual English proficiency of 376 English Foreign Language teachers from around the world who had English as a Foreign Language and feelings and self-reported behaviours. Statistical analyses showed that more proficient teachers scored higher on the dimensions “Classroom practice” and “Attitudes toward students and institution”. They were also more motivated and happier. Intermediate (B1-B2) teachers scored significantly lower on these measures than EFL educators with Advanced proficiency (C1-C2). No significant differences emerged between teachers at Lower advanced (C1) and Upper advanced levels (C2). An argument is made that all dependent and independent variables are connected, highly dynamic and interacting directly and indirectly, which means that causality is multi-directional. The implication is that educational authorities should organise regular in-service training to maintain and boost teachers’ proficiency because investing in teachers’ linguistic skills represents a long-term investment in their emotional well-being and will ultimately benefit their students.


attitudes, classroom practices, EFL teaching, foreign language users, motivation, proficiency, well-being

Erratum: Due to a production error, the manuscript was reuploaded on June 8, 2022, with a correction made to the article title (page 11) and the second sentence of Abstract (page 12).