What to do when you can't understand your prof's accent

After successfully studying under a foreign-born professor whose accent was hard to understand, Residence Life Director Palmer Bennett of Shaw University has a rather snarky set of suggestions in USA Today for those students frustrated by the way their foreign profs talk:

  • Textbooks are written in English! Gasp! Yes. It’s true. .. If you can’t comprehend the verbal lesson, read the visual one.
  • If you email the professor — wait for it — his response will not have an accent! Voila! You can email your notes, ask him for corrections where you were lost in translation and there you have it! Ain’t technology grand?
  • Go to class. Ay de mi! (One student) discovered how to decipher certain sounds her Nigerian instructor made during her lectures. This is a trick she could have only learned by going to class. … The more you hear how they enounce and pronounce, the more you understand.

And the point stressed:

(Professors) have been where you are — they probably sat in a class listening to a professor speak a language that was not his native tongue and thought, “What the heck did he just say?” They probably spent hours in the library reading over chicken-scratch notes, waiting for office hours (because they did not have the luxury of email) and reading textbooks cover to cover. Or they deciphered inaudible sounds over telephone conversations that left them thrice as confused as before — but they did it. They earned their degrees and now you sit where they sat trying to receive what they have attained.