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to not want school to teach my kids how to speak in the way the teachers wants?

(710 Posts)
bellabreeze Tue 02-Oct-12 20:41:00

Having irish accents the teacher of some of my kids has told me they would do little speech classes so they speak different.. its not the accent but its things like saying 'ting' not 'thing' and dat not that and stuff like that really.. I think.. I don't think it is important enough to waste time doing? But maybe I am wrong?

GlassofRose Tue 02-Oct-12 21:26:51

I wouldn't say it's about conformity. It's important that children can speak standard English as well as write in it. That doesn't mean that they can't speak however they like at home.

Beamur Tue 02-Oct-12 21:28:46

I think it can be confusing for children learning phonics when their accent makes it harder for them to understand. My DD has had this to some extent too - we live in West Yorkshire and her Reception teacher was from Lancashire and had a broad accent - DD actually speaks with an accent much closer to mine which is Southern and her teacher and I pronounce vowel sounds very differently.
I didn't want DD to start speaking with a broad Yorks/Lancs accent and would correct her to something more neutral - and for a little while words like c-u-p were a bit tricky. I say cup more like cap and her teacher more like coop. But it didn't take long for her to work out that my 'u' and the teachers were the same letter and her reading and speaking is now doing just fine.
I don't think you should override an accent, but you do need to explain to children that words spelled out phonically won't always sound how they are used to saying them.

tittytittyhanghang Tue 02-Oct-12 21:29:43

Teacher is coming across twattish and rather insulting. And so is anyone who is suggesting that your children are not speaking proper.

Curtsey Tue 02-Oct-12 21:30:33

Hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland pronounce as your DCs pronounce, OP. And like your kids, come through the school system being able to spell and write 'standard' just fine. It's just one of those interesting things. I think the teacher sounds well-meaning but a little over zealous. Accents are accents. I'd worry that the private tutoring would be making a big Thing where none exists.

jamdonut Tue 02-Oct-12 21:32:20

I take some phonics groups .I have a southern accent ,but the majority of the children have yorkshire accents. I tend to change the way I pronounce things or I tell them " I say grarse,but you say grass" and that both are correct, and point out that we have different accents. However many children have real problems with spelling using ,(for example) 'th' and 'f' , purely because they haven't been "put right" ,as it were. It's not stopping someone using an accent. But it is not alright to write "fings " or "fank you", or miss out "the" completely e.g. "We went in car to shops".

parakeet Tue 02-Oct-12 21:33:20

We can debate whether or not it's "proper English" or valid differences in pronunciation til we're blue in the face, but at the end of the day, OP, you have chosen to live in England, and if you want to help maximise your children's chances in life, it's worth considering a few simple steps that will help them tone down their accents when they need to.

They might be surrounded by Irish speakers now, but they won't necessarily be in future when they're at university and at work.

LtEveDallas Tue 02-Oct-12 21:35:26

I remember vividly being pissed off at the age of about 10 at a speech and drama festival when I was marked down for saying 'castle' as 'cass-all' and not 'cahs-all' but the two Irish girls who had very pronounced accents were complimented for their 'lovely broad dialect' - to my 10 year old mind it was really bloody unfair because the way they spoke meant that the poem we were doing didn't even rhyme!

Everyone has an accent, everyone uses different words for the same meaning, or has different dialects. Who can say what is 'right'?

As long as the children are spelling the words correctly, does it matter how they say them?

GlassofRose Tue 02-Oct-12 21:35:39

Why is it twatish, titty?

In East London schools children are reminded the difference between colloquial and standard English all the time. They are given weekly speaking and Listening focuses which concentrate on making the children aware of the fact how they speak will have an impact on the opportunities they get in life. If you can speak and write in formal English it is a fact of life that you will give yourself greater opportunities. It doesn't mean you have to speak like it at home or in the company of your friends.

tittytittyhanghang Tue 02-Oct-12 21:37:08

Have just read that your children have no problem spelling "that" so why does the teacher want them to change the way they speak?

CondoleezzaRiceKrispies Tue 02-Oct-12 21:39:00

OP, what's your instinct about this? Do you think that their teacher doesn't realise that they are reading the word correctly, and that they just pronounce it differently due to their accent? Or do you think the teacher has an agenda to 'make' them have the same accent as their classmates?
'Bath' is a good example, do teachers in the south have to keep explaining that there's no 'r' in it? grin

Feenie Tue 02-Oct-12 21:40:20

Standard English is part of the National Curriculum, and has been since 1993:

Level 3

Pupils talk and listen confidently in different contexts, exploring and communicating ideas......They are beginning to be aware of standard English and when it is used.

Level 4

They use appropriately some of the features of standard English vocabulary and grammar.

Level 5

They begin to use standard English in formal situations.

So you can stop teacher bashing - the teacher isn't being 'twattish', or 'insulting', ffs - it's on the curriculum.

Floggingmolly Tue 02-Oct-12 21:40:21

I grew up in Ireland, and we had the th thing drummed into us.
I'm proud of my cultural heritage too, but am perfectly happy to have left the worst excesses of the Dublin accent behind. I'm still recognisably from Dublin, but really, an inner city Dublin accent is not one to aspire to.
Bella, you say all your kids' out of school friends have the same accent, confused, do you live in the UK? Please don't take offence at this; but are you from a travelling background?

BallyGoBackwards Tue 02-Oct-12 21:40:25

We are Irish, living in England for the last 14 months. We have Irish(Dublin) accents, although we do pronounce our "th's".

The school have never made any bad references to my childrens accents. In fact they often say how much they like their accents, although my DS is teased alot about his and my DD will switch accents depending on who she is talking to.

No matter where you go in the world there will be different accents. I wish people would just live with it.

ZZZenAgain Tue 02-Oct-12 21:42:52

these are native speakers of English who can be easily understood and who will have no more difficulty mastering standard English in speech or writing IMO than the dc they attend school with who speak with British pronunciation.

If they were native speakers of Spanish for instance who were transfering Spanish pronunciation to English and in this way were very difficult to understand, there might be some point in what the teacher intends to do. However this is not the case. All native speaker variants of English pronunciation are equally valid. A dialect is grammar which differs from standard English. Having a particular accent does not mean that you do not use standard English.

bellabreeze Tue 02-Oct-12 21:44:37

None taken, floggingmolly and yes I am

GlassofRose Tue 02-Oct-12 21:44:58

It's not the accent that's the problem though OP, it's pronunciation.

donnie Tue 02-Oct-12 21:46:10

There is nothing wrong with different accents and dialects. If, however, they impede your grasp of, and ability to express yourself lucidly in standard English then they become problematic.

And MrSunshine - you actually advised the OP to " tell the teacher to fuck off". What sort of person does that make you? Do let us know.

sununu Tue 02-Oct-12 21:46:19

I had almost the opposite experience - one of my kids has had a lot of speech therapy and one therapist took care to ask did we say 'fum' or 'thumb' before she started coaching his 'th' sound (this is in East London). I was a bit surprised tbh!

paulapantsdown Tue 02-Oct-12 21:50:17

Its not about accent or 'the English telling us how to speak' ffs - its learning how to actually pronounce a word correctly.

My cousins at school in Ireland, were taught to not use the 'flat' Carla (Carlow!) accent - 'dis, dat, dese and does, this is the way the TH goes'.

ReallyTired Tue 02-Oct-12 21:51:00

A school in Essex gave their children elecution lesssons and it dramatically improved the children's English results.

I think what the essex school has done is reasonable. They have taught the children the different between their Essex accent and other dialects. They have looked at spelling. Encouraging children to use the Queen's English in their heads for spelling is not an attempt to anilate their natural accent. Standardised spelling is based on the Queen's English so it helps children to understand the differences between the Queen's English their natural accent. (ie. East London, Brumie, Cornish, Glasgow etc.) The Queen's English is only one accent and is not surperior, its just the one chosen for spelling purposes hundreds of years ago.

I am not surprised that you are offended that your children have been singled out for special treatment. If a black child was treated in this way there would be outrage. Having an Irish accent is not a reason for being on the special needs register. (If your children are being taken out for one to one work then they will have an Individual education plan and will be on the SEN register)

Out of interest which region of the UK do you live? I doult there is anywhere other than royal palaces that use the Queen's English.

WorraLiberty Tue 02-Oct-12 21:52:39

OP the school are doing the right thing imo.

Both my parents are from Cork City and I remember writing the words "Tis mornin" in my work book instead of "This morning" and the teacher (who incidentally was Scottish) corrected it with a red pen.

When I questioned why I shouldn't spell 'Tis mornin' like that she said it's because it's actually pronounced "This morning" and I'd had no idea blush

I was born and bred in East London/Essex and when I'm relaxed and chatting with friends, my accent is fairly cockney - as are my DS's accents.

But I always pull them up on their grammar just as your child's teacher is doing with yours, because mispronunciation of words and accents are two separate things.

Your kids can still have an Irish accent and speak correctly, the same as my kids can have a London/Essex accent and do the same.

apostropheuse Tue 02-Oct-12 21:54:13

There are no "proper" accents.

There are different accents.

The teacher is being an idiot! I wonder if she does the same with children whose parents throw random "R"s into their words - or any of the other variations of pronunciations we have in this diverse country.

...and breathe...

fedupofnamechanging Tue 02-Oct-12 21:56:07

I think the thing with 'bath', is that there are different ways to pronounce 'a' and they are all considered to be correct in standard English. But it is not correct to pronounce 'th' as 'd', in standard English.

English is a quirky language and not altogether logical, so while I can see the logic in the argument that if long 'a' and short 'a' are considered correct in standard English(and just regional variation), then 'th' as 'd' ought to be, but it just isn't.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 02-Oct-12 22:01:38

Yep, there are no 'proper' accents.

OP, you should just accept that people who don't understand how 'ting' and similar pronunciations function are pretty ignorant. It's not their fault, but they're wrong, not you.

So called 'Standard English' changes from generation to generation, as anyone who's watched a 1940s film can tell. Your children speak one dialect: they should be supported in that.

One good thing is, when they get to studying English at a more advanced level, they will be well placed to understand how ridiculous the idea of 'a' single 'Standard English' is.

KitchenandJumble Tue 02-Oct-12 22:05:25

Your children are perfectly entitled to speak in their dialect without interference from the teacher. Regional accents and dialects are not "inferior" ways of speaking, simply different ways of speaking. Their dialect isn't affecting their spelling, so they should not be singled out as speaking "incorrectly."

I remember when my family first arrived in the U.K. from the U.S. I was 5 years old. I spoke (and still speak) with an American accent. It was amusing when teachers corrected my pronunciation, especially of words with an American origin, like "teepee." But they never suggested I needed any speech therapy. If they had, I'm sure my parents would have laughed at the lunacy.

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