Picture this: You and your friend meet someone for the first time and have a conversation with her. She speaks a little differently from you and your friend.
Now imagine scenario 1: When you finish the conversation and the woman leaves, your friend says this to you:
Where do you think she’s from?
Now scenario 2: the woman leaves and your friend says:
What was she saying? I couldn’t understand most of it.
To me, this is the difference between accent (scenario 1) and pronunciation (scenario 2).
If you’re a language teacher, you should focus on improving your students’ pronunciation, even if they say they want to speak with an American/British/Australian/whatever accent. Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll be able to convince your students to focus on improving their pronunciation and accept, maybe even embrace, their accent.