1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

My TA has a Cockney dialect and speaks with poor grammar...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mrlin, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. mrlin

    mrlin New commenter

    I have a wonderful TA, and he has a cockney accent. He talks to the children with horrible grammar, e.g., "There wasn't nuffingk here.".

    The children can comprehend what he's saying, and I worry that it will translate into their own speech patterns and eventually, their writing.

    I would like to explain to the children that the way we speak is not the way we write if we want to be grammatically correct, but I fear that my TA may feel belittled or embarrassed. I know that dialects and class are touchy subjects.

    What do you recommend I do?
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. FarSideofParadise

    FarSideofParadise Occasional commenter

    I've broached this with my classes before. We did some work around spoken language and looked at variations across the UK and how the different dialects and accents may hinder communication. I'm from Liverpool and teach in the city and it worked really well picking out key phrases and discussing whether or not we thought someone who wasn't familiar with 'scouse' would understand.

    Then we looked at some interesting articles about some schools banning black country dialect and asked if this was the right choice.

    I wouldn't say it's belittling but I would talk about what you're planning to do with your TA in advance.

    "I've been thinking about the way we speak and I thought it might be a really good idea to do some work on it with our pupils. To look at different accents/dialects and discuss whether or not they affect understanding. You've got quite a strong accent so I thought it might be brilliant if you could think of some cockney phrases to go through with the class..." Etc!
    pepper5, mrlin, peter12171 and 2 others like this.
  3. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I once had London as a class topic. One week, for writing, we wrote a letter full of Cockney rhyming slang. Lots of fun.

    Very easy to have the conversation about the difference between formal and informal language and which is appropriate, and when.

    Pomz is pure Cockney, but has also developed a moderated teacher voice! (Just like the peopele mentioned here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39028994 )
    mrlin and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. petaloutha

    petaloutha Lead commenter

    'As 'e got an 'eart o' gold? Does 'e wear 'obnail boots and 'ave such a job ter pull 'em up 'e calls 'em daisy roots?
  5. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    Tricky one... my school made it quite clear that the expectation is that standard English is spoken in class by all adults. It doesn't matter whether you are a foreigner (like me) or you don't pronounce any "t"s (like many of my London colleagues). We are expected to correct our TAs as well.

    I had several talks with my TAs about this and they all understood why I was banging on about it; simply because the expectation is standard English. They actually didn't mind me reminding them that saying things like "I saw you was sat next to her" are not ok in class.

    During observations if a TA uses incorrect English and the teacher does not correct them, it is seen as a fault of the teacher.
  6. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I worked with a Glaswegian TA and heard her using incorrect grammar in her spoken language. I let it go, but the bottom line was written language - that had to be spot on. I was a bit of a wimp over the spoken language because it did really grate with me but I felt embarrassed to correct her.
  7. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Just stick 'im up agin the wall and tell him you'll gi 'im a fair bit a beet in the gorla.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  8. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Not sure about your subject or age group. I have done the Black Country slang and an Essex school that banned slang. I'm sure the resources are on TES. We examined the fact that correct pronunciation helps with spelling and job interviews etc. We have also discussed modifying language in different situations, for example, standard spoken English is expected in the classroom, whereas informal language is used with friends. If he takes an active part in the lesson he should get the hint. Maybe you could keep pronouncing words that are wrongly spelt - it's nothing - there is no K in nothing. I personally would be churlish about correcting a TA, unless we were very friendly, because it could cause animosity.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  9. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Define 'correct' English?!! My goodness, what would David Crystal say?!
    wanet and blueskydreaming like this.
  10. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I'm getting a wonderful flashback to when I taught 'Blood Brothers' to two forms of public schoolboys. They loved learn' 'bout Scouser. I took them up the West End to see the show... hearing these Home Counties lad chirruping away in bad Scouser on the coach was hilarious.....'ave a reada this mate:
  11. katykook

    katykook Occasional commenter

    This poem -
    Six O’Clock News – Tom Leonard
    Written in Glaswegian dialect - great for them to read out and "translate"
    Laphroig and Mrsmumbles like this.
  12. wordsworth

    wordsworth Senior commenter

    Presumably your TA went through the interview process before being appointed, so it is hardly your fault if he ends up in your classroom.
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Hook a duck - I can't believe my mince pies!

    Youw carr gow criticoising the Blick Countrie accent bab

    Seriously - suggest you do a lesson about accents as stated with the TA giving examples - that might be a way for him to reflect on his speech without being criticised on it!
  14. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    I think others will be able to advise on the difference between accent and dialect.

    Give them an oral task and let them know that one of the assessment criteria is 'consistent use of Standard English' - that will be a way in. You can then explain that this doesn't necessarily mean their accent (ie, if they say it "barth" or "baff"), but it does mean ensuring they use standard grammatical constructions.
  15. garem

    garem New commenter

    Anythink, somethink and nothink.............and all three from the dulcet tones of our HT.
    FarSideofParadise and Mrsmumbles like this.
  16. bob79

    bob79 Occasional commenter

    I'd add a few of 'your own' in there such as 'we are all guilty of saying could of instead of could have' - no matter how well intentioned you may upset your TA just by suggesting they give a few examples. Better to go in with some of your own - no matter how fabricated they may be....
  17. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Sounds classy...
  18. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    Speaking in an accent isn't a problem. Many teachers and TAs have regional accents.

    Speaking in Standard English grammar is expected and should be used by all staff. Using dialect grammar in the classroom doesn't model standard English for the children.

    I'd tactfully approach the TA if you have a good relationship. I use regional grammar out of school but insist on Standard English in the classroom. On thr odd occasion I slip up (usually when getting animated) my students diplomatically remind me. One school I was at did a literacy recap for staff because some staff didn't use standard English.
    peter12171 likes this.
  19. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Your students will encounter many types of grammar (good, poor, regional, trendy etc) throughout their lives. They will need to be able to understand all forms of speech in its rich variety if they are to get by. If they comprehend what he is saying then they are getting an education in "real life" skills.

    You teach them the correct rules but let them experience (and enjoy) the alternatives as well.

    I wish someone had taught me Cockney when I was a kid.:)
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  20. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Aye man! This is MA TROOTH!

    Some of favourite lexeme from my Northeastern years:

    Are youse ganyen oot?
    Howay man
    Mind the auld biddies.

Share This Page