Five Teaching Innovations – Teacher development outside the box

In 2017, IH London is hosting a Guest Speaker series with leading experts in the ELT industry. These are one week courses that will educate and inspire teachers.

Adrian Underhill

Adrian Underhill

  • Course length: 1 week
  • Dates: 7-11 August
  • Times: 09:00-13:00
  • Fees: £650

Course outline

This 5-day workshop will help you push the edges of your practice and thinking about teaching and learning. It draws on the principles and skills behind the five practical approaches that have been most important to Adrian in his career:  

  1. Sound Foundations. Pronunciation remains the outsider in ELT. We will explore two underlying reasons for this and two solutions. You will practice a set of teaching techniques that bring pronunciation out of the head and into the body, and enable you to liberate learners from the ‘grip’ of their mother tongue phonetic set. You will learn how to help students reconnect with the muscles that make the pronunciation difference.  This new approach makes pronunciation physical, successful and motivating. It applies to sounds, words and connected speech, and to all 4 skills. It can be adapted to your own personal teaching style. I will also illustrate how the phonemic chart offers a mental map that is integral to this process.
  2. The Inner Workbench. Although learning may be experienced as an inner activity, much of what happens in classrooms tends to focus on external, observable activities. I will demonstrate and help you practice simple and engaging techniques that enable you to connect with the subtle inner moves of your students' learning, by exploiting the "mind's eye", the "mind's ear", the "mind's mouth" and even the "mind's muscles". These techniques are simple and fascinating, and develop students' insight into their personal learning styles leading to self direction and reflection. They can easily be incorporated into any part of any lesson, and matched to your own teaching style.
  3. Demand High. Are we challenging the full learning potential our students? This workshop explores ways of increasing the learning challenge and engagement for each student at precisely their own level, at the same time within a whole class.  We will look at basic guiding principles and at the corresponding practices that are not apparent in our current methodology.  I will suggest ways to make demanding interventions in planned activities and in spontaneous responses to student utterances, which you can then apply to your own teaching style
  4. Spontaneity and Improvisation in ELTSpontaneity and playfulness are essential to learning and creativity. Although spontaneity is already everywhere in our lessons, it remains largely unseen. Our methodology does not value it sufficiently for it to be discussed, critiqued, practised or improved. This workshop offers a thinking frame for developing spontaneity and improvisation for oneself, with learners, with colleagues, in teacher training, and in management and leadership. I will offer practical activities and discussion.
  5. Six Category Intervention AnalysisThis is the ultimate facilitator training package that examines what goes on "in and between people in the classroom" (Earl Stevick). We will practise ways of intervening creatively in these processes, which remain “off the map” of our current methodology. Such processes include issues of control and power, finding your optimal balance between lead and follow, honest feedback, saying more with less, the development of learner self-esteem, qualities of supportiveness, empathy, authenticity, and factors affecting the teacher’s personal presence and charisma. You will practise a range of facilitator interventions that go beyond normal classroom management techniques.

The course will focus on one of these in depth on each of the five days.

Meet Adrian Underhill

Trainer biography

Adrian is an ELT Consultant and Trainer and worked for many years at International House Hastings as a trainer and Director. Adrian is an author and the series editor of the MacMillan Books for Teachers. He is well known for his book Sound Foundations and his inspiring talks on how to understand the phonemic chart. His Pronunciation Chart was developed into an App for students and teachers and won an industry award. Adrian takes a holistic approach to teaching and teacher training and is a frequent conference speaker.


Underhill, A. (1980). Use your dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Underhill, A. (2002). Macmillan English Dictionary Workbook. Oxford: Macmillan Education

Underhill, A. (2002). Macmillan English dictionary for advanced learners. London: Macmillan.

Underhill, A. (2005). Sound Foundations: English Pronunciation. MacMillan Books for Teachers

Book this course

Five Teaching Innovations – Teacher development outside the box

Course Fee:
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Total: £650.00loading