The Agile Accent

Since I work with many people in technical areas like software development and engineering, I have learned to communicate information about speech and language in terms that are familiar to them. The agile methodology is a helpful way to think about how people make progress with changing their speech. 

Changing speech isn't a series of isolated tasks to be completed before moving on to the next one.
It's about adding new concepts gradually and constantly checking on how well they are being integrated before moving on to the next one and making adjustments as necessary.

​This kind of flexibility is possible with private coaching, not with classroom teaching. You make progress at your own pace, spend longer on one speech feature than another, and receive continuous feedback so you know how you're progressing.

Thinking in terms of cycles is very effective. The concepts I've added to the graph below are in most people's Top 5 Goals: Intonation, Syllables, Schwa, Sound Processes, Sound-Spelling Relationships.

  • The first cycle is about gaining awareness and the ability to produce speech in a different way with control.

  • The second cycle goes deeper into gaining more analytical skills and control to manipulate these features.

  • The third cycle begins the process of making the features become more automatic and part of spontaneous speech.

There are no set number of cycles, it is a very personal experience, but it's helpful to know that along with repetition there is also progression to a higher level of control and ultimately, mastery.

I have gained so much from the people I've worked with. I have learned about different methods of communicating while I was teaching communication skills. As long as you're open to new ideas and methods, you're sure to make progress in the direction you choose.