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Before & after your session: what does your accent reduction coach do?

What does your accent reduction coach do before and after your session? Or rather, what should they be doing?


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Before your session


Every new student is required to send me an audio recording of a text file so that I can get a good understanding of your accent and what sounds we need to focus on ahead of your first session. I will not let you book a session without sending the recording, that's how vital it is.


After I receive your recording, I will then spend about an hour listening to your recording and taking very detailed notes on what I'm hearing. This will include vowels that might be too long/short/open/closed, places where you went for the wrong vowel to begin with for a neutral American accent, consonants that have the wrong positioning/are unclear/are too tense, rhythm issues with stress and intonation, and so on. Accent reduction always starts with a solid foundation and understanding of the sounds we are supposed to use.


Based on your recording, I will have you start on the sounds that stand out the most to get you closer to a neutral American accent (as well as clear speech in general) the fastest. This will start with the big sounds we must adjust and then we will go deeper/more detailed once we have a firmly established foundation of the American sounds.


This preparation process takes time. Sure, I can listen to your recording and get a general idea very quickly but I always make sure to tell you the places where I heard you make certain mistakes and the reasons why we're looking at those specific sounds. It'll make it easier for you to apply what you're learning. This is also why you cannot book next day sessions as a new student. I have a busy schedule and want to make sure I'm well prepared for our session.


After your session


First, I will send you the class recording both as a video and an audio file. Then, I will share the materials (Google Documents) that we have worked on with you. Lastly, I will take detailed notes on what we went over in the class. This will include:

  • patterns of mistakes you made that we tried to correct and if you did so successfully or not (Some things take time and consistent practice to fix. That's okay!)

  • drills we used to improve mistakes and if we did them well, if we need you to go practice outside of class and do them again next class to make sure we get more "reps" in (the same you would in the gym)

  • which sections in the materials we covered and where you had an easy/hard time

  • any extra information I may have mentioned. It's very common that (even though the topic of the class is about one sound) I may go into detail on other sounds, rhythm details, spelling patterns and more that will help improve your understanding of using and identifying the correct sounds

I have had students be surprised that I remember so much about our previous classes when they, themselves, won't remember things we have gone over. Of course, this can be easily remedied on their part by rewatching the class recordings between every session (which I strongly recommend). However, it always comes as a surprise to me that sometimes students seem to expect me not to remember the previous class. I have heard from students that have worked with accent reduction coaches before that their coaches would treat the sessions as continuous "one-offs". While I understand that those coaches are probably busy, it's crucial to know what your students are working on and struggling with. Every class after the first one will pick up where we left off the class before by either continuing right where we left off in a section on a document or by refreshing a key concept we talked about in the previous class. Most of my students need to do this because they have lives outside of accent reduction and don't always get to practice as much as they'd like. Inevitably, they'll forget parts of what we've worked on / talked about. If I feel like a student is struggling with a very specific issue that may benefit from further practice, I may even create new sections on already existing materials to make sure you get a good chance at improving this issue in a controlled environment. (to build on this as a side note: remember that reading is your friend here! For anything you're working on, you'll have infinite resources to practice with by reading books, articles and even simple things like captions on social media. So read, read, read!)


Side note: this is also the reason why only the very first class is a "one-off" on its own. After that, if we both decide we are a good fit for each other, students always invest in packages of either 5 or 10 sessions. This helps maintain consistency and the spirit of continued work. If you sprinkle in one off sessions every two or three weeks, you will improve but at a significantly slower rate.



So, keep those things in mind when choosing an accent reduction coach. Feel free to send me an e-mail with any questions. If you'd like to work with me to reduce your accent, click on the button below to contact me.




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