Trainees told to modify their accents for teaching phonics

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FEtutor
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Trainees told to modify their accents for teaching phonics

Post by FEtutor » Fri May 13, 2016 5:23 pm

I would have thought that they should be told to talk about differences and model in the regional accent of the children they're teaching and their own. As a northerner teaching adults in London I often gave two versions. Or three- London, northern and RP!

http://www.theguardian.com/education/20 ... ir-accents

I had the luxury of working 1:1 which made things easier!

FEtutor
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 8:24 pm
Location: London

Re: Trainees told to modify their accents for teaching phonics

Post by FEtutor » Sun May 15, 2016 10:41 am

I've been thinking about this, and wondered how all you trainers advise the classroom teachers you train?
Joan

JIM CURRAN
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Re: Trainees told to modify their accents for teaching phonics

Post by JIM CURRAN » Mon May 16, 2016 4:57 pm

Why are schools trying to wipe out regional accents?
Lynsey Hanley

The news that trainee teachers are being encouraged to adopt a more middle-class accent is part of a worrying trend

Call it the “Downton effect”, or the return of old-fashioned regional snobbery, but there is, increasingly, one acceptable way to be in society, and that is to be middle class and from the south-east of England. When you actually live in the north, the “northern powerhouse” is self-evidently nothing but a nice-sounding phrase, delivered in RP by someone who does not.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ddle-class

Elizabeth
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Re: Trainees told to modify their accents for teaching phonics

Post by Elizabeth » Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:22 pm

I wrote a reply on this topic to Phys.org: http://phys.org/news/2016-05-exposes-pr ... cents.html

I have found that there are people in the South of England who believe that they speak correctly with no accent and that other people have accents. This is an illogical and prejudiced belief.

In fact it is easier to teach phonics with a northern English accent, because the vowels match the spellings more consistently. The examples of 'a’ and ‘u’, as in ‘bath’ and ‘bus’ are good ones. In the north, 'baths‘ rhymes with ‘maths’ and ‘but' rhymes with 'put', but not in the south.

However, it is not straightforward with all accents. If children speak English in a way outsiders cannot understand or if English is not their first language, we owe it to them to model a pronunciation of words that is easily understood by outsiders.

Teachers should speak clearly so, on the whole, I believe that it is okay to pronounce vowels in a range of regional ways, but it is not okay to pronounce consonants in a range of ways or to drop them. Dropping consonants makes speech less clear. Also, pronouncing 'th' as /f/, /t/ or /d/ is a problem when teaching the spelling of 'thin' or 'this'.

Some vowels are so different it is difficult for a teacher with one accent to teach phonics to children with a different accent. For example, when a teacher from New Zealand is trying to help children not from New Zealand to hear the difference between ‘i’ as in 'pin' and ‘e’ as in 'pen' for reading and spelling, it is a real problem. This is because, with a New Zealand accent, 'pen' is pronounced in the way most English speakers pronounce 'pin'.

It is different again for those whose first language is not English. They usually want to learn to speak English with an accent used by people whose first language is English, and not with the accent of their own first language. For example, a French speaker who wants to be understood in English, tries to pronounce words in the way pronounced by a native English speaker.

In parts of the Caribbean and Africa where I have trained teachers, many people speak English, when they are with family and friends, in a way outsiders cannot understand. They want their children to learn to speak English with a British or American accent. They do need to learn to speak English at least as their leaders do when interviewed, because the way they speak with family and friends cannot usually be understood by outsiders.

Although the attitude is usually different, the issue is similar for other English speaking regions. For example, some English speakers find a Glaswegian accent difficult to understand. So a Glaswegian teacher usually models pronunciation of words in a way that is very clear and easier for outsiders to understand, but still with local vowel sounds.

As far as northern versus southern accents in England goes, I believe in respect for both, but a northern accent is a little easier for teaching phonics.
Elizabeth

Elizabeth
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Re: Trainees told to modify their accents for teaching phonics

Post by Elizabeth » Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:27 pm

Joan wrote:
I've been thinking about this, and wondered how all you trainers advise the classroom teachers you train?
I find some classroom teachers worry about their accent, but it is not usually a problem. I agree with FE Tutor:
they should be told to talk about differences and model in the regional accent of the children they're teaching and their own.
Elizabeth

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