I'm sorry Harry, there are many strong accents in Britain. Well-defined and hard to follow. Should we just impose an outright ban on reality?
The question is more whether we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Teaching students to have strong accents is simply not a good idea: they want to be understood when they speak!
if a student only has lessons with one standard accent, then they will never be able to understand anything anyone says in any English speaking country. If a student is only taught by a teacher with a BBC accent, then that student is doomed when it comes to trying to understand English.
Not if they did a little work outside the classroom and the teachers were careful with their choice of listening exercises. Back in the day when it was on cable TV, I used to video Eastenders to use in class.
Point and fact is, i hired alot of Polish care workers who had passed their FC exams, but within one week wanted to go home cos they never understood a word that was being said to them.
When my ex first came to visit my parents she had just passed CPE with a grade A. She didn't understand a single word at the breakfast table. It wasn't the accent: it was the speed of the conversation (we don't waste time in my family).
How many years have you been a teacher, Harry? You certainly talk a good game.
I don't really teach anymore, got out of the game a couple of years ago. Still do a couple of hours a week just to keep my eye in (in case of an emergency return to the trade). But before that I did teach full-time for 12 years, all in Poland.
Indeed, considering that a lot of English natives have trouble understanding some of the more obscure accents I don't see how the student can be trained up without simply living in the that particular discourse community.
No native speaker has ever had trouble understanding my accent (although it does put a few backs up). But I have on occasion needed to interpret between other native speakers, e.g. a Geordie and a BC bud-head, a Scouser and a Saffa, a Welshman from the valleys and a Kiwi from the Mainland (surprising that those two couldn't understand each other, given how much they have in common).