Monday, May 17, 2010

Report: Accent Reduction Seminar with Glenn Zuraw

HOLA held an Accent Reduction Seminar in late April 2010 at Los Kabayitos Theater in the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center (home to HOLA). Led by Glenn Zuraw, the one-day seminar gave a bit of information on how to minimize one's accent and sound more "general American."

Zuraw, a licensed ESL teacher who has lived in Mexico and Colombia for several years, started the seminar by serving refreshments and getting to know his students individually and finding out the reasons they took the course. Most of the students wanted to minimize their accent (or be able to play with it) and to be able to expand the amount of roles they could get.

Zuraw continued with talking about his background as a youth in Pittsburgh and later as an ESL teacher in Latin America. He also highlighted the fact that one cannot totally remove an accent and one minimize it in a short period of time; this seminar was just the beginning of a process.

He later had the students perform exercises as well as show them where certain vowel and consonant sounds lie in the voice and face and how they differed from certain Spanish vowels and consonants.

At the end of the seminar, the students were asked to fill out a survey regarding their experiences. Some of the feedback included the following.

"He [Zuraw] was great, knowledgeable, friendly and engaging."
"He gave us many tips and insights. He's great. Very amenable and clear."
"Very fun and informative."
[He] dominated the topic."
"Great teacher. Thorough. Many more people can benefit from it."

"The instructor was patient and knowledgeable. Nice, friendly and respectful."
"Very informative, fun and friendly. Helpful."

The students unanimously thought that the seminar should be repeated in the future. HOLA would like to thank Ura Yoana Sánchez for acting as a monitor of the seminar. HOLA plans on repeating the seminar again in the future. If you are interested in taking it, please call the HOLA office at (212) 253-1015.

Photo Credits: A.B. Lugo.

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