Supposed advantages of native speakers over competent non-natives as language teachers tend to relate to their role as models of language use. However, if it is important to expose learners to language variety, as stressed by the recent Multiliteracies movement (e.g. New London Group 1996, pp. 69), then even native teachers can hardly model the dialectal variety or even multilingual code switching associated with some situations. The present paper first reviews the literature on familiarising learners with dialectal variety and describes how this can be done with the aid of audio-visual material. It then goes on to the more unusual case of code choice in Indonesia, showing why it is worthwhile for all learners of ‘Indonesian’ to become sensitive to the social significance of choices between varieties of Indonesian and regional languages, and pointing out how this can again be promoted through the use of multimedia material. Both concerns detract from the ability of teachers, native or otherwise, to serve as models of language use, although in the conclusion we’ll suggest that this issue may in any case be eclipsed by developments in multimedia-based and increasingly distributed approaches to education.