Pronunciation, Performance and Poetry with Adrian Underhill, the author of Sound Foundations

Who is the course for?

This programme is for teachers, trainers, materials writers, and anyone who wishes to speak from the heart with impact and clarity. The course is for speakers of English as an additional language (min B2), or as a first language.


Course outline

There are two parallel strands to this practical programme:

1. Develop confidence in your own pronunciation of sounds, words and connected speech. Learn to sense what you do in your mouth so you can critique and change your pronunciation as little or as much as you wish, and learn techniques to help your learners do the same.

2. Develop your spoken performance skill through presentation and performance, maximising listener engagement through your voice tone, pause, energy distribution, timing, intonation, fluency, body language and … speaking from the heart. Integrate pronunciation to bring language to life.

The course culminates with the production of our own Poetry Festival

During the programme you will enjoy a complete workout with the Sound Foundations chart, receive constant feedback to gain confidence and mastery, and experience a range of new teaching techniques, all of which are transferable to your teaching style and your classes.

A practical, experiential, innovative, enjoyable and fully active programme.

On this course you will:

1. Gain a thorough, practical insight into the physicality of pronunciation including words, stress, unstress, and connected speech

2. Develop your personal expression and speaking from the heart in free speech and poetry.

3. Develop confidence and presence in your spoken performance, for example whenever you talk to your class.

4. Experience first hand and practise new teaching techniques to help your learners bring their speech to life.

5. Integrate pronunciation work completely into all class work and at all levels.

A practical, experiential, enjoyable and fully active week:



  • Introducing the Sound Foundations chart as map of the pronunciation territory
  • The physicality of sounds, connecting with the muscles that make the difference
  • Your own pronunciation and being yourself
  • Selecting your choice of presentation


  • Connecting sounds into words. Stress, unstress, energy distribution
  • Connecting words (and disappearing syllables) in the stream of speech
  • Selecting your presentation piece, initial rehearsal considerations
  • Pronunciation teaching techniques that combine success and pleasure


  • Teaching and learning vocabulary through pronunciation and stress
  • Your personal presence, pronunciation, and performance
  • Rhythm and intonation in connected speech
  • Master classes including feedback for performance rehearsals


  • How do you present yourself through your spoken communication? (in class, in school, in public, to friends)
  • Developing your impact through voice tone, pause, fluency, slowness, body language and speaking from the heart
  • Presentations and storytelling for engagement and delight
  • Master classes including feedback for performance rehearsals


  • Festival of stories and performances
  • Feedback and discussions
  • Celebration
  • Performance:You can choose either a poem or short story which I will preselect and offer you, or any short presentation of your own design which you‘d like to develop, rehearse, prepare

About Adrian Underhill

About Adrian Underhill

Adrian is a world-renowned ELT Consultant and Trainer. He 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 use the phonemic chart. His current projects include teaching beyond methods, and bringing playfulness, spontaneity, improvisation and storytelling into classroom learning.


  • Underhill, A. 1999 Facilitation in Language Teaching in Affect in Language Learning, Ed Arnold, CUP
  • Underhill, A. (2002). Macmillan English Dictionary Workbook. Oxford: Macmillan Education..
  • Underhill, A. (2005). Sound Foundations: English Pronunciation. Macmillan Books for Teachers.
  • Underhill, A. (2005). Sound Foundations Phonemic Chart 2nd Edition (Standard English and general American) Macmillan Education
  • Underhill, A. 2013 The Inner Workbench: Learning itself as a Meaningful Activity in Meaningful Action: Earl Stevick’s influence on language teaching. Eds Arnold, Murphy, CUP
  • Underhill, A. 2019 Chapter in Developing Expertise Through Experience Ed Alan Maley, British Council

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