Developing a Pleasant Non-Native Accent (IATEFL 2015 Video)

The principal idea that I aimed to promote in my talk at the IATEFL 2015 conference is that language training needs to be closely integrated with working on the learner’s spoken performance. In the talk I shared a few of my own classroom routines, as well as possible frameworks for developing lessons in which spoken performance is the central activity. Some of the key messages that I attempted to convey are as follows:

  • learning a language needs to engage motor skills – therefore classroom activities should resemble the training that actors undergo;
  • the teacher ought to weigh up what sorts of activities students can do individually, and where the teacher’s expertise presents an added value;
  • whenever possible, instead of learning metalanguage, students should learn language;
  • the teacher’s job involves selecting language chunks that are worth memorising;
  • students find it motivating when they are told that they have a nice accent.

Below is a video-recording of my talk. The accompanying handout can be downloaded by clicking here, and the slides that I used – by clicking here. I hope you can put up with not the best sound quality. Thank you to those who came along, as well as to those who watch the video – I hope it will be of some use to you.


Edgar Dale (1946, 1954, 1969) “Audio-visual methods in teaching” New York, Dryden Press

Hugh Dellar (2013, 19 July) “Twenty Things in Twenty Years Part Ten: The main point of focussing on pronunciation in class isn’t to improve pronunciation!” Message posted to

Michael Lewis (1993) “The Lexical Approach: The State of ELT and a Way Forward” Hove, Language Teaching Publications

Adrian Underhill (2014) “Demand High and Lost Learning” Talk presented at the 48th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition, Harrogate UK, 2-5 April 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s