Marshall Speech and Hearing Center partners with INTO to hold dialect coaching sessions

Updated 4 years ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
Marshall Speech and Hearing Center partners with INTO to hold dialect coaching sessions
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -  The Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center (MUSHC) has joined with INTO Marshall to provide dialect coaching sessions for international students on the Huntington campus who want to improve their English skills.

Loukia Dixon, assistant professor in the Marshall Department of Communication Disorders, said since August 2013, the MUSHC has offered an elective course in dialect modification coaching to INTO students from countries around the world including Brazil, Iraq, Jordan, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Russia and Kazakhstan.

"Before this partnership with INTO, most of us lived in a bubble with no idea of the conversational opportunities available to us here on Marshall's campus," Dixon said. "Giving our students a chance to interact with individuals from different countries provides invaluable cultural experience and encourages them to learn about our world."

Dixon, who is the supervisor of the elective course, said the dialect modification sessions consist of four clinical groups of INTO Marshall students, who meet with graduate clinicians for 50 minutes once a week for the entire semester.

Sara Henson, a 22-year-old graduate student in the department of communication disorders, said the MUSHC and INTO Marshall collaborate weekly to plan and implement large and small group activities that address conventional pronunciation of English sounds as well as the rate of speech, stress, rhythm and idiomatic expressions used every day in the U.S.

"Over the past two semesters, I've had the opportunity to provide services to clients from five different countries and it's rewarding to listen to them talk about their native countries, cultures and traditions," Henson said. "The partnership between the INTO program and MUSHC is so important because it not only gives the graduate students a unique clinical experience, but it also helps the INTO students communicate more successfully with their professors, classmates and new friends they've made here on Marshall's campus."

Mollie McOwen, coordinator for the Learning Resource Center at INTO Marshall, said students enrolled in the dialect coaching elective are provided personal instruction which provide them with the clarity of speech necessary to be understood by native and non-native English speakers. 

"INTO Marshall students are given the opportunity to engage in social interaction with local residents on meaningful levels," McOwen said. "INTO students learn more about the cultures of Marshall and Huntington and gain understanding of the perspectives of those native to the American culture."

McOwen said the dialect coaching elective is a popular one with INTO Marshall students and always seems to be full.

"The cultural opportunities to learn from one another are great and often differ from semester to semester, based on the inclinations, experiences and personalities of those participants," McOwen said. "This partnership is one that INTO Marshall values greatly, and we do hope to continue offering the elective to students each fall and spring semester."

To find out more about INTO Marshall, visit online. To learn more about the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center, visit online.

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