Teach English in SAntang Zhen - Yueyang Shi

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When should we 'fix' our students' accent? As fluent English speakers we may be able to understand when a Russian speaker "tałks łike zyis" or when a Spanish speaker calls you "Hor hey" when your name is Jorge. But what happens when our students tell us "I went to the 'bitch' yesterday", How should we respond? What if our students drop the final consonant in all of their words? Making their speech unintelligible. Is it fair that native English speakers can have accents that others find difficult to understand but the accents of students' English needs to be fixed? As teachers of English it is important that we only 'fix' an accent when it is necessary for understanding, necessary to avoid misunderstanding or when it is asked for, if we correct every little phonetic 'slip of the tongue' then we risk hurting our students and hurting our reputations. We as teachers must fix an unintelligible accent when we spot it. One of the most notorious examples of difficult English to understand is that of Indian phone representatives. Indian (India) accents are difficult to understand for most native English speakers and present an even higher difficulty for non-native English speakers. Couple this with the fact that many Indians speak their accents at a native-level pace and it may become clear why misunderstanding can occur. In environments such as telecommunications where it is often essential to give clear, concise instructions, it can be problematic if high level English is spoken with foreign consonants and vowel reduction patterns, particularly over the static of a phone. It is not uncommon for people to get visibly angry with customer service representatives for reasons like this. Another, more specific example is that of a UFC fighter from cuba who after his fight, on live television he tried to say "wake up USA, go, go for Jesus do not forget Jesus" but actually said "wake up USE, go, go for Jesus, no for gay Jesus" needless to say he was forced to clarify himself latet on. If unintelligible accents are not taken care of in the beginner to early intermediate stages of learning they may come to get used to believing their accents are understandable and in the future when they interact using English in a real world environment they will come to a harsh reality that could have been avoided. As teachers we should strive for the best of our students as it relates to their English prospects, absolute essential problems such as these need to be dealt with because it hinders others understanding, and therefore they're ability to communicate, which is the entire purpose of a language. If a student cannot communicate effectively in a language then they have learned for nothing. Similarly, while an accent may generally be intelligible, in certain cases (mostly with near-homonyms) it may be necessary to practice distinctions in pronunciation. Take the following words: bean bin been Ben bane ban bun bone Each of the above words can be easily mixed up with another in this list depending on students' abilities to produce different sounds. The most notorious example is beach vs. bitch. Although not as essential as the previous scenario it might do well to go over such lightly, it may help in the future to prevent potentially embarrassing misunderstandings. The final and most obvious scenario where it is okay to correct an accent is when the student specifically asks for it. Some students are really keen about learning their next language and might want to sound as 'good' as possible ('good' being in the opinion of the student). Others might just want to 'blend in'. Whatever the reason students are the ones we as teachers aim to please. If a student wants to learn, its our job to teach. A happy student is a good student. Correcting accents is not something that should be done all the time. A student who is always corrected will be unmotivated and a student whom is begining the English language should focus on the basics of English first and how to use the language before worrying about pronounciation errors that are still understandable. As for teachers, a teacher who is always correcting looks like a nagger and a nagger isn't someone that will be respected by students. Overcorrecting is bad for everyone. Some education centers and institutions may have special accent training, however it is still important students realize that while they are indeed training their accent, they aren't at fault for having theres (unless as said before, it hinders intelligibility significantly), such classes should still be sparce in comparison to their other English language studies. Accents are not as essential to learning the language as vocabulary, grammar etc. We shouldn't risk hurting the class with unnecesary corrections. In the year 2019 English of different native accents and dialects are heard from all ovsr the world. An Irishman can understand a man from the deep US south, a woman from Ghana can talk to an Australian, a young boy in California can fully understand a BBC documentary. With TV and the globalization of English we see non-native accents; parodies of Russian or Chinese accented English, United Nation gatherings where world leaders talk (often in English). While some learners may want to achieve what they consider to be a model English accent (often Standard British or the 'General American'), it would be harmful to tell students their accent is wrong unless they absolutely need to clear up their English for understanding. If a native speaker can understand a dialect as linguistically isolated as Scotts (a different dialect of Middle English), than theres a good chance a student's accent isn't worth the trouble.