Teaching the American Accent with Your Own Accent or Dialect: Challenges and Strategies

May 20, 2024

Are you considering teaching the American accent, but English isn't your first language, or you have your own regional accent or dialect? You might be wondering if it's possible to effectively teach pronunciation in these circumstances.

I know I was worried about my regional dialect when I started teaching, so I'm here to tell you that you absolutely can do it AND do it well!

In this lesson we'll explore the common concerns that arise when teaching pronunciation with an accent or dialect and share strategies to address them. We'll also discuss how to leverage your unique accent as a strength in your teaching approach.

 

Embracing Your Accent

One of the biggest concerns for non-native English speakers or those with regional accents is worrying that students won’t take them seriously as accent coaches. It's natural to worry about being perceived as less credible because of your accent, but we are often our own worst critics!

It's essential to embrace your accent as a unique aspect of your identity and teaching style. Your accent can be an asset that allows you to connect with students on a deeper level and provide valuable insights into the speaking challenges they may face.

Strategies for Success

To be an effective accent coach despite not having a perfectly neutral American accent, there are several strategies you can employ:

  1. Focus less on worrying about your accent and focus more on being a great speech model for your students: Having confidence in the way you sound will attract students!  And remember that you don’t need to sound like a native speaker to be a GREAT speaker.  Many wonderful communicators have accents and dialects of all varieties.
  2. Continue working to become a BETTER speaker: Speak up.  Project your voice.  Don’t speak too quickly.  Learn the art of pausing.  Employ the vocal dynamics of pitch and rate to convey emotion and intention.  There are so many ways to improve the way you sound that have nothing to do with accents, dialects, or pronunciation, and if you learn to use these other concepts effectively, you will sound confident and engaging, regardless of any accent or dialect.
  3. Expand your expertise: Students want an accent coach who is knowledgeable and experienced in their field. They look for someone with a deep understanding of their specific speech challenges.  Keep your skills sharp with relevant trainings and workshops, then show off what you know in your marketing and other promotional content!

Marketing Potential

Finally, recognize the marketing potential of being a teacher with an accent or dialect. Your unique perspective and expertise can attract students who resonate with your speech background and your teaching style.

Highlighting your own experience with language learning can be a compelling selling point for prospective students looking for a relatable and empathetic instructor.

Teaching the American accent with your own accent is not only possible but can be highly effective. By embracing your accent, employing effective teaching strategies, and leveraging your unique perspective, you can make a meaningful impact as an accent modification coach or pronunciation instructor.

Make Money Teaching Accents and Pronunciation Full-Time or as a Side Gig

Download the FREE guide to learn about the skills, software, certifications, and other basics that you'll need to start working with paying students. 

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