Thursday, May 27, 2010

Reassign Your Accent?

Arizona Seeks to Reassign Heavily Accented Teachers. That's a real headline from Fox News.

In about the strangest twist of education-related news, the Arizona Department of Education has announced they'll be auditing English classrooms to check on teachers. Nothing weird there, except that they're specifically targeting teachers who don't speak English fluently, have poor grammar, or simply have an accent.

Ok... I get the first two, but what the hell does an accent have to do with teaching? Let's see if Tom Horne, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction can explain what accents have to do with teaching English:


As you expect science teachers to know science, math teachers to know math, you expect a teacher who is teaching the kids English to know English.

All right. I agree with you there, Mr. Horne. English teachers should know English. I'm not hearing any reasoning about accents, though. Oh wait, there's more!


It's my jobs to make sure they're taught English in the most rigorous, possible way so they can learn English quickly, can compete with their peers, and succeed academically.

I'm sorry, did he say It's my jobs...? And he's wanting to kick English teachers out of their positions for bad grammar? "[Most] rigorous, possible way..." I... He.... But....

#HEADDESK

Now, I'm seriously asking here: what does someone's accent have to do with their teaching prowess? I'm legitimately interested in hearing the answer to this. Really. Anyone...? Anyone at all...

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

7 comments:

  1. I can only see a GLIMMER or reason behind this IF the accent is so dense that the students cannot understand what is being taught. Is he going to develop a spectrum that determines the degree to which the accent is comprehended??? Perhaps he'll call it a "vernacularism-oscope?" LOL!

    p.s. I am an English teacher in AZ without the slightest hint of an accent... I guess I'm safe :(

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  2. Nothing. Accent should have absolutely nothing to do with teaching.
    The only thing that matters is whether the students can understand what was being said.
    I've been in the position twice, of not understanding a teacher. The first, an Irish teacher spoke VERY fast but when he slowed down the problem was gone.
    The second, the teacher, who was Spanish I think, spoke a really broken english. His accent had nothing to do with the fact we just couldn't understand him!

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  3. We got notes in our boxes saying that we shouldn't worry about the audit and they are just checking for English speaking fluency, not accents. I'm not even in the English department. I kinda wish I was, it will probably end in a lucrative lawsuit if they do this as it is written in that article.

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  4. Oh by the way its Tom Horne not Tom Home :p With that much checking of his name, I am curious about the typo in the quote. Though "rn" can look like "m" with some fonts.

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  5. Fixed it. Thanks! Must have misread the original article.

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  6. Woops, the typo is from the original article. I was critical of the Fox news reporter, not you. I should have stated that :P

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  7. It's a dog whistle. When they talk about teachers who have accents, I'm pretty sure that they don't mean those who speak with an Irish, Scots, or Oxford accent. They're talking about all those brown folks.

    As for English fluency--well, most students in Holland and Denmark can correct the English of the typical teacher in a typical U.S. high school, not to mention any other language that they might make a pathetic stab at learning.

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