About training

We combine many of the elements of elocution, public speaking and accent coaching to develop your skills in English. Training with Ear & Speak involves solving anything from simple things to urgent problems and long-term issues in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner.

We focus on flexible and dynamic one-on-one training because typical group training and short courses (eg, at TAFE colleges) are rarely suitable for people who have become used to speaking English.

At Ear & Speak the focus is on the challenges faced by the individual client. Emphasis is placed on:

  • continuous analysis of your problems/progress, not a first-session checklist,
  • practice as part of everyday routines,
  • strategies and exercises to solve your problems.

Training uses the specialist skills of the consultants, Dr Duncan Markham and Dr Debbie Loakes, supported by:

  • materials, recordings and exercises chosen for your goals and needs,
  • the Ear & Speak Client Area website, with tips and resources,
  • additional wordlists and recordings prepared specifically for any special problems you encounter.

And beyond these basics, we engage clients in wide-ranging and in-depth conversation about exactly the things they would discuss in their work and their social life. We're not scared of conversation about auditing, project management, teaching, ceiling trusses, tempering couverture, circuit boards, viticulture, aeronautics, systems architecture, landscaping, habeas corpus, wound management, mise en place, psychiatric taxonomy, your weekend, or anything else (we've trained all sorts, from diplomats to sex-workers). That's real communication practice!

Where next? You might like to read:

or scroll down ⇣ for more about training. ⇣

Most of your new skills will develop gradually (mostly outside our office!): just as driving a car, or learning to paint, or being able to swim 50 laps takes time. It's not like taking a slimming tablet or an aspirin. Ear & Speak doesn't give clients lots of sit-down homework, but we do stubbornly insist that clients practise in everyday life. Developing the necessary skills requires patience, an open mind, and a sense of fun or experimentation — if you don't have those, then we will try (!) to show you how.

Why is expert training important?

Too many people buy unintelligent software, attend impersonal group classes, watch misleading YouTube videos, try one-size-fits-all "personal" training, or sign up for online courses that promise a lot and deliver very little actual progress after the investment.

Training with Ear & Speak is one-on-one. There are no classrooms and no "programs" — this is about individuals, with training taking place in a pleasant, private professional office.

If you are concerned about aspects of your communication, consider how important personal, reliable, specialist feedback can be.

Your needs, not the teacher's

It doesn't matter if you come for elocution classes, accent modification training or some other reason, the focus is on your goals. We doesn't expect or force you to adopt a particular way of speaking. We work with clients in Melbourne and elsewhere who feel the need to change their pronunciation in some way, and we are sensitive to their reasons.

Some clients want to build confidence, some to sound more international, some just want to be more easily understood, and some want to sound more Australian. We understand your personal goals because we work with such a wide range of people.

Changing how you communicate in English takes time. There are no miracle solutions to speaking better - you have to be willing to work at it in your normal day-to-day language use. Everyone can change. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you think we can help you.

Intensive classes

The most effective training allows time for practice, feedback and reinforcement. However, some clients from other places need an intensive accent reduction course or speech lessons during short visits to Melbourne, so a special schedule of classes can be prepared on request.

Note that intensive training is exhausting and still requires a large degree of practice afterwards. You should contact us well in advance, so that a sensible schedule can be discussed.

If you can't attend face-to-face training in Melbourne, we also offer an online Accent Reduction at Home course at our Accent Experts website, but note that high-quality face-to-face training is always better.