Skip to main content

Accents Training

This learning and teaching innovation project was funded by the Teaching Development Fund (Seed) in 2021/22.

Project status



Project started on 1 Jul 2022

Project Leader: Leah McCue, Peer Support Team, Students Union

This project, which was awarded funding by the Teaching Development Fund (TDF) Seed, aims to to investigate how best to support students with accent comprehension by building and trialling a hub of tips to help students who are struggling. The hub will be comprised of video clips and other resources to help them practise listening to different accents, including signposting to TV shows, films, and podcasts for further exploration, and to learn about different cultures. This will be housed on Moodle. This first phase of the project will explore and evaluate if this is the correct approach to accent comprehension.

Feedback from international students and other language learners is that they often struggle to understand native English speakers, or those who also have English as an additional language. This makes it difficult for them to follow lectures, interact with their peers, participate in SU Groups, etc.

After completing the course, students will be encouraged to attend English PAL sessions, where they can practise conversational English with other learners and native speakers. The content of PAL sessions is led by the attendees, so they can focus on different accents or other aspects of the language or UK culture.

Leah provided an Lightning talk at Edufest 2023

And an update on the project in May 2023, having completed the staff and student beta testing, analysed the results of this feedback and are now planning our next steps.

With the support of student staff and the project group, we were able to complete the project design by the end of January 2023 and organised beta tests with SU staff and students from a range of programmes and levels of study. These beta tests took place at the end of January for staff and at the start of Semester 2 for students. Student beta testers completed the course over 3 weeks and were signposted to English PAL after completing Week 3. All respondents filled out a survey to provide us with information on their experience, including suggestions for improvements to the course.

The results were good with student beta testers responding positively to the design, interactive elements of the course and ease of use. 75% of respondents stated that they found the course helpful and would recommend it to a friend.

As our next actions, we are looking at renaming the course, re-recording some course audio and modifying one of the more challenging activities to make it more accessible.

On a whole, the feedback shows that the course has value to students and, when combined with signposting to English PAL, is an effective way of giving students opportunities to practice listening comprehension when faced with a range of different accents.