The world is changing! When a business man in China talks to a business man in France, what language does he use?
Nowadays, businesses may ‘outsource’ to companies all over the world. For example, a film company in Australia may use a Polish company to do their graphics, an Indian company to do their sound editing and a company in Germany to do their location searches. They use English to ‘talk’ to each other and so English has become the ‘Lingua Franca’ or language of common use.
It is interesting, that even in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, where people traditionally could understand each other’s languages; now choose to communicate in English.
That is why students need to learn to understand English accents from all around the globe. Cambridge exams now use a variety of accents for the listening tests and are emphasising the importance of not relying on the traditional British accents.
So, having an ‘accent’ other than the traditional English one is no disadvantage to being an English teacher. Non native English speaking teachers who have had to learn learnt and English teachers who have learnt another language are usually wonderful English teachers. They understand the challenges of language learning. They tend to have a greater understanding of grammar structures than native English speakers and they tend to be more sympathetic to the frustrations of language learning.
So, if your teacher has a non traditional English accent, don’t think you are disadvantaged. It is not a hindrance to your English learning. The next time you are doing group work, remember that listening to the other students will help improve your global English skills and help yourself, by talking to as many different nationalities as you can around your school every day.
Director of Studies