As I flew home from the UK for the Christmas break I was struck by the fact that I have stopped hearing accents as strongly as I did before. Especially the ones that I hear regularly. I am sure that part of their is due to the fact that I am surrounded by so many accents at school. Just in the lower school division there are UK, US, New Zealand, South African, Australian, Canadian, Zimbabwean, Irish, Mexican, and Venezuelan. The advantage to our kids is evident when we have guest speakers from different places that they get into the flow of listening to very quickly.
When I think about how part of our goal is to raise global citizens. I think that part of that is the ability of our students to hear more than one accent. When I think back to my time in Thailand the main accents were American, Canadian, Thai, and Taiwanese. While that was good the students missed out on hearing other English accents and I wonder how they would deal with listening to them. While I lived there a fellow teacher was given a job at an English(UK) international school. While she was there a child was removed from her class to a class with a teacher with an English (UK) accent because in their country the English accent was perceived as better.
I started this entry on my way home to the states in December. Then yesterday at school we had a trainer for Espresso come to the school and show us this resource. One of the teachers asked him about the accents in the videos that were on the website and he started to say how important he thought it was for kids to hear a variety of accents! Glad I am not the only one!