What in the world was I doing? What was I thinking? Why did I travel to the other side of the world to teach English??? Was I insane?
It took a while to hit my stride, but over the next few months, with the help of my fellow teachers, I got more comfortable.
And, over more time, I got good at it. And I started to really like it! Teaching grammar, talking about new words, helping students understand the stories they were reading as more than just the words on paper…I LOVED it!
However…I discovered another problem.
There are four parts of any language: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.
My students were great at learning new words. They were good at learning the various (and sometimes a little crazy) grammar rules of English. They started getting better at understanding what they were reading. Their listening skills were getting better and better every day.
But…the speaking part? Not so much.
I saw them get so frustrated with they were talking with a native English speaker that wasn’t familiar with their accent, and weren’t understood. I saw how so many were absolutely terrified to talk with someone in English, because they were ashamed of their accent. I saw so many people, intelligent, knowledgeable, amazing people, who were crippled in their studies or in their professional lives because they felt they didn’t speak English well enough.
I had to do something to help.
At first, I didn’t have a system in place. I’d tell them to listen to NPR, or audiobooks, or watch movies in English without subtitles, so they could get more familiar with the accent. I’d tell them to repeat the sentences they heard, and mimic the way the speaker said them. I told them to record themselves and play it back. The biggest thing was to practice, practice, practice. Keep trying, keep going!
And it helped, some students, but it took so long! Without a system in place, they weren’t making the progress they needed and wanted to make.
So, I kept trying, and kept looking for a new way.
And I found it!
Through the Institute of Language and Phonology, I learned a system to help my students to learn to reduce their accent in weeks rather than months or even years. I learned how to teach them the sounds of American English, in a way that they can understand and use for themselves. I learned how to teach my students, so they could then teach themselves how to reduce their accent while speaking English.
It does take practice. It does take time. But with a system in place, not only are my students learning to pronounce English like Americans do, they’re gaining the confidence to speak English to anyone! A teacher, a fellow student, a coworker, their manager, a complete stranger on the street! They’re able to express themselves, their intelligent, knowledgeable, amazing selves, in everyday life and in their work life and in their academic life. It’s so amazing to see them become more confident and expressive, knowing they can be understood.
You have the knowledge of the English language. Now get the confidence to use it. Take your FREE accent assessment, and see what I can do for you.