Elocution lessons in Primary School

To me, accent makes us different and unique. It tells people something about us, the way we were brought up and where we come from. It is a starting point of discussion and shows some of our similarities and differences with others. Now, in a primary school in Essex, they are trying to change our accents using elocution lessons.

It is used with 8 and 9 year olds. They use mouth exercises and tongue twisters. They can improve writing because they have their elocution voice in their head to improve spelling mistakes, but they claim it is not to get rid of their Essex accent. They are believed to become more confident in public speaking. Unfortunately, I was unable to put the video on because of copyright issues.

In today’s world most children in school is taught to be the same – same uniform, same education. They are never taught to stand out. Even in some classrooms they aren’t taught to think ‘out of the box’. Is using elocution lessons another way of ‘standardising’ children, or getting them ‘ready for the workplace’? But even in the workplace do you need a standardised accent?

I got in to University with having a Plymothian/Devonshire accent, and I know a lot of people who did the same. So, it isn’t an issue if you go to university or get a job etc. in the same county, but does this mean if I tried to get into a university or get a job in a different part of the country or even a different country, I wouldn’t get a job unless I had a standardised accent or their regional accent?

Where would elocution lessons fit in to/with the curriculum? In my opinion, teachers only just have time to fit in all the subjects that we have now, let alone another thing to do. Or would this fit in with part of the English curriculum, which already takes up much of the teachers time. Maybe it will spread as another section of Phonics?

While, there is another side of the story. BBC reports that elocution lessons will help improve spelling and build pupils confidence, but is this not what Analytical or Synthetic phonics do?


Basildon Schools use elocution lessons to improve spelling, [Online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-16831384 – Accessed 1st February 2012

Jolly Phonics Jigsaw Puzzel [Online] http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenhancock/278108253/ Accessed 1st February 2012