Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

Part of a series of summaries of the talks I’m attending at IATEFL Liverpool 2013. Please feel free to add things or correct me if I’ve misinterpreted anything!
These are the main points from Adrian Underhill and Alan Maley’s talk, taken from my tweets.

Alan Maley and Adrian Underhill (henceforth AM and AU) wake us up with hand mirror work/ say something strange/random and respond.
They want to discuss the ‘dark matter’ of the lesson, the improvisation that happens in between the planned bits. This is the spontaneous interaction which is not represented in the lesson plan or course book. It is not articulated or developed. There is a potential excitement when you don’t know what is going to happen. Needs to be done and discussed. The question is, how do we make space for this? How do we get better at discussing the undiscussable?
Adriund talks about John Fanselow’s book Breaking Rules. What rules do we follow in our planning? Break them! See what happens when you break the rules. If you never do anything different, you never know if it will be better or not. You get into routines and there is no possibility for unexpected events. How can we bring back the spontaneity?
What would it be like if you arrived early enough to welcome your SS, instead of unpacking your bag? Some learning experiments you can try:

Things you can train teachers to do to help them prepare to improvise:
Personal preparation for spontaneity. My favourite: work with what is happening, not what you wish is happening:


Adrian Underhill and Alan Maley have written an article in ETp (2012) called ‘Expect the unexpected’ with a follow up in current ETp (2013).

Christina Rebuffet-Broadus’s post about the same presentation
Neil McMahon includes some comments on Adrian and Alan’s talk in his post about day 2 of the conference.
Sophia Khan describes an improvised lesson and what she learnt.


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