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Modifying Your Accent

25/02/15

Lyn responds to recent research addressing the accents of young teachers. 

Recent research suggests that young teachers are under pressure to drop their regional accents and adopt received pronunciation. "Many felt they had to modify their accents as these were deemed inappropriate for education." These were the findings of Dr. Alex Baratta at Manchester University. (The Times 21.01.15)

Well, if this is the case, those nice people at Protocol Education will have to speedily organise elocution lessons for us!

What is the supply landscape in London going to look like if all the Australian, Canadian and other such assorted accents are 'deemed inappropriate'? Pretty barren. I have taught all my life in West Country tones. I had no idea I had a significant accent until I went to university in the Midlands and was mortified when fellow students asked me if I could drive a tractor or when they burst into songs about combine harvesters.

We should cherish our own and our pupils' regional accents and not 'correct' them. What we should be correcting is bad grammar if we want our pupils to be employable. We are not helping them when we ignore 'I done' and  'I seen' and 'I ain't'. Working-class children will have enough barriers to overcome when competing with their middle-class peers in the workplace. The least we can do is equip them with grammatical English.

What are you thoughts? If you would like to blog a response to this contact Megan for more information.

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