Redefining the Role of the Second National Language Teacher: Existing Perceptions vs. Changing of Practices

Dr. Shashini Tennekoon


Sri Lanka is a multicultural country with a diverse population coming from three major ethnic groups, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. Though they have been living together for several centuries in the country, it is not without conflict. After three decades of an atrocious war which erupted as a result of these ethnic clashes, currently the country is enjoying some peaceful times. To make this peace last for long the government has taken several important measures and teaching the second national language in the school for children, and appointing the first language speakers as the second national language teachers is one of the most important. Nevertheless, second national language teachers have a very different interaction with their students when compared to other teachers. They are required of an unusually high level of cultural nuance as members of a different culture to their students and need to develop cultural intelligence to overcome this challenge. This study attempts at finding the present cultural perceptions of these teachers and suggesting ways of changing practices to bridge this gap.

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