Okay, let’s be honest. No one needs accent reduction training. However, it can be a great benefit to many people who have learned English as a second or other language.
If you learned English as an older child or as an adult, there’s a good chance that your mother tongue, your first language, is interfering with your pronunciation of English. For some, this is not a problem. They are well understood by their colleagues, their clients, their students, or any other group that they need to speak with.
However, for other people, the interference is much greater. They find themselves repeating their sentences often. They find that when they ask a question, the question is misunderstood and not answered correctly. Maybe they’ve found themselves passed over to make a sales presentation. Perhaps they have found that they are seldom asked to speak in public, even though they have great ideas and a great work ethic.
Or, perhaps they just feel self-conscious about their accent. Maybe they were teased at some point when they were younger. Maybe during college they were told it would be better for you to write your ideas instead of presenting them to the class. Or maybe it was a suggestion from a trusted friend or teacher.
The best candidates for accent reduction training are people that are greatly self-motivated. People who can see the benefit of accent reduction training, and are willing to dedicate at least one hour every day to practice. Their English-speaking levels should be at intermediate or higher. This is partly to avoid turning the accent reduction session into an English language teaching session. These two are not in conflict, in fact they can go hand-in-hand, but both are goals that should be addressed in separate classes.
The goal of accent reduction is not to eliminate the accent of the person’s mother tongue. The goal of accent reduction is to give the client another tool in their toolbox, to give them the ability to make their mother language accent as heavy or as light as they would prefer. And the ultimate goal is to give them the tools so that they can be better understood by those that need to understand them. To help them to go further in their career, to go further in their education, to go further in their lives. In other words, to help their communication skills.