• Simone Brown

Accent Modification Using Web Conferencing: or Being an Overcomer

Two years ago, I dreamed of serving international clients desiring to get HELP modifying their accented English. In context, many of my students here in the states had regular, extended conversations over the internet with their families back home, so the possibilities of linking with people from all over the world seemed endless! However, after I secured my first online student, I quickly experienced a technological nightmare. The web conferencing platform (a) was unreliable, voices sounded tinny, and the video frequently froze.

Now, I’m a language coach, not a techie, but I did my due diligence to try to find a solution. Unfortunately, I became discouraged because after a trial period, the better platforms (b) required a subscription fee which I didn’t have at the time. Defeated, I returned to face to face lessons and put my dream back to bed.

Last week I was jolted awake by an opportunity that came to me quite unexpectedly (providentially). A former colleague gave my contact information to a friend who passed it on to another friend who had an urgent professional need to modify his accent. Remarkably, all this communication occurred between three different continents!! I had to give it another try for the sake of my potential client.

Once again, we experienced the same problems with web conferencing. Fortunately, my student had had a positive experience with a different platform (c) that I had never tried. I quickly signed up and sent him a meeting invitation. Voila!! Clear picture and sound and the ability to record the session which is so vital to accent work. Best of all, it offers free unlimited 1 to 1 meetings.

What is the lesson here? I’m not trying to rate one platform over another because the quality might have a lot to do with each person’s equipment and internet speed. What I want to get across is that I shouldn’t have given up on my dream so easily. I always tell my students that a quality process will result in a quality product, so why didn’t I apply that to my vision? Don’t worry, I give myself grace because I know this is all a journey for me, but I hope the next time an obstacle comes my way, I remember to be an Overcomer.

a) Skype

b) GoToMeeting

c) Zoom

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