Goals

This workshop training aims to give priests the skills needed to:

  • produce spoken English in a way that is easy for Americans to follow

  • proclaim the Gospel and other liturgical texts in a listener-friendly manner for North American audiences

  • learn more about their cultural values and assumptions, and those of their parishioners, and

  • develop strategies for effective interpersonal communication in the United States.

Method

Using techniques from the Compton P-ESL  (Pronouncing English as a Second Language) method, participants will progress systematically through the essential elements of producing the target accent, including individual sounds, words, sentences and elements of prosody (rhythm, stress, intonation and phrasing). Participants will then apply these principles to their proclamation of liturgical texts, as well as by negotiating meaning in interpersonal encounters.

Through printed materials assembled from various cultural experts, participants will explore scenarios common to ministry in U.S. settings and discover the differences in values that shape and define our various and particular cultures.

Format

This training is delivered in eight sessions, typically over two or three days, depending on the needs and availability of the diocese and the participants.

Sample Schedules

Materials

Speaking Pastoral English in America Course (S.P.E.A.C.) is the textbook created by instructors Jeff Jenkins and Clare Haden to help priests and other ministers serving in the United States produce listener-friendly speech patterns for U.S. audiences. S.P.E.A.C. targets each sound in North American Standard English and gives the speaker ample practice and techniques to produce the sound accurately and clearly. 

In addition to sound work, S.P.E.A.C.  has sentence-level practice so that speech is produced with proper stress, phrasing, rhythm and intonation, all of which contribute to more comprehensible speech patterns. Words found in the practice list are compiled from the Roman Missal and the New American Bible Concise Concordance. The words are chosen because they are likely to be used in liturgical and pastoral contexts. An audio CD is included for the practice word lists.

Language, Culture and Ministry Workbook is a compilation of materials from various cross-cultural resources and experts. The Language, Culture and Ministry Workbook introduces participants to the concept of culture and many of its key aspects, including how we view: ourselves, time, control, uncertainty and the impact of power within relationships.

Additionally, participants compare the differences in key cultural attitudes on many common subjects between those generally held by Americans and their native cultural attitudes. Contrasts in communication styles and strategies for achieving successful results in future cross-cultural encounters are explored. References and suggested further reading are provided.

Accent Sessions

Sessions focus on training the ear to detect derivations between one's current speech patterns and those of target speakers and provides techniques that can be used to practice the target speech patterns on the sound, word, and sentence level. 

Session 1: Introduction to North American Speech Patterns - Vowels

This session emphasizes sound- and word-level speech patterns with specific emphasis on vowels. 

Session 2: Introduction to North American Speech Patterns - Consonants

This session emphasizes sound- and word-level speech patterns with specific emphasis on consonants. 

Session 3: Speech Patterns for Increased Comprehensibility

This session teaches how to apply target speech patterns to important features of linguistic comprehensibility. Particular attention is given to stress, rhythm and intonation.

Session 4: Speech Patterns for Pastoral and Liturgical Ministry

This session focuses on how to apply target speech patterns to important speech tasks for priests: proclamation, homiletics and spontaneous speech. Particular attention is given to phrasing, volume and speed.

Culture Sessions

Sessions introduce the different ways people make sense of their environments and collectively agree upon concepts of self, time, control, change, risk, and verbal and non-verbal communication. Strategies for creating more successful cross-cultural exchanges are covered.

Session 5: Cultural Patterns in the U.S. - Part 1

This session explores the concept of culture as a whole and explores the cultural dimensions of self, time and control. Examples of U.S. American tendencies within these areas will be demonstrated and compared to other cultures.

Session 6: Cultural Patterns in the U.S. - Part 2

This session examines the cultural dimensions of how people handle uncertainty and power differentials within the culture. Examples of U.S. American tendencies within these areas will be discussed and compared to other cultures. In addition, U.S. American cultural attitudes toward several cultural categories, including change, human nature and taking risk, will be covered.

Session 7: U.S. Cultural Norms in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication

This session looks at the preferred styles and content of interpersonal interactions as well as common communication tasks in administering an American parish. Nonverbal cues and cross-cultural conflict will be explored along with American cultural norms' effect upon organizational behavior.

Session 8: Building Bridges: Awareness and Action

This session explores ways to develop intercultural competence and apply it to future cross-cultural encounters that one is likely to face while ministering in the United States.