Mark Almond

Putting the Human Centre Stage


Practical theatre techniques to develop teacher presence, rapport and a positive classroom community

This practical handbook focuses on the hidden skills within your teaching repertoire. Develop, reflect on, and improve these skills, enriching your practice in the process.



New from Mark Almond, Putting the Human Centre Stage addresses the hidden skills within a teacher’s repertoire.

It focuses on a teacher’s interpersonal skills, classroom presence, classroom atmosphere and group dynamics, teacher’s voice, non-verbal communication, the general affective aspects of teaching, motivation, rapport, teacher’s energy and motivation, improvisation, and preparing for the unexpected.

This book will:

  • prompt you to reflect on your approach
  • encourage you to build a positive classroom community
  • enrich your teaching.

There is support for the knowledge and skills-based approaches that currently exist. However, in Putting the Human Centre Stage Mark Almond argues for more of a practical emphasis on hidden skills which many teachers and trainers deem ‘unteachable’. He demonstrates that they are teachable, backing this assertion up with theory and research. Most importantly, he includes a wide range of practical activities that can be done individually by teachers or used by teacher trainers in a classroom training situation.

Putting the Human Centre Stage consists of two parts. First, Almond covers the theoretical underpinnings of this book. Drawing on research, he critically argues that there needs to be more of a focus on being a teacher rather than the what or how. In the second part, he puts the theory into practice. This section is full of exercises, activities and lesson ideas in a recipe format. These will help you to develop or improve teacher presence and classroom rapport, and build a positive classroom community. These activities are all suitable for individual teachers. Many will be suitable for teacher trainers and managers involved in professional development or in running formal teacher training programmes.

Mark Almond is the author of Teaching English With Drama, revised for 2023.


“This book looks at teacher’s skills which are often overlooked or marginal in teacher training. In order to develop teachers’ interpersonal skills, presence, rapport, body language, spontaneity etc. we need different tools and shift focus to the less tangible. The author proposes to use theatre and drama techniques, as well as reflection.” – Hanna Kryszewska, Humanising Language Teaching, October 2020. 

“Every once in a while, teacher trainers come across a book that makes them think: ‘This is just the book I have been waiting for. That is the way I felt when I first laid eyes on Putting the Human Centre Stage… Plenty of books have already been published on group dynamics, interpersonal skills, communication skills and teacher development. But this book brings all these useful angles together in a framework that is best summarised in the author’s emphasis on “how to be rather than what to do in the classroom.” (p.9). In doing so, it also highlights the importance of what are largely hidden skills and opens them up to consideration and practice… I hope this excellent book becomes a staple resource in many teacher  preparation programmes but I also recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone involved in helping people to develop their full spectrum of communicative and social skills.” – Uwe Pohl. Read Uwe’s full review here


This practical resource is aimed at newly-qualified teachers, practising teachers and teacher trainers working not just in the field of English language teaching or in general education. It is applicable to teachers of any subject at any level, or age range, in any discipline. For teachers, it will be a useful reference, and to teacher trainers, it’s a resource they can use in the classroom.


ISBN: 9781912755288
Publication: 22 August 2019

Chapter 1 Introduction
What is this book about?
Who is this book for and how can it be used?
What is the thinking behind this book?

Chapter 2 Insights from other fields
Social interactionism, constructivism and humanistic approaches to education
Flow theory
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
Facework and politeness theory
Drama, theatre and improvisation training

Chapter 3 The ghosts behind the blackboard
The ghosts of teachers past
Research into teacher qualities


The experiential playground
1 In the beginning …
2 Beating the burnout blues
3 Teaching is …
4 The essence of teaching
5 All eyes on the class
6 Memorable teachers
7 In memoriam
8 Look into my eyes
9 Looking at me looking at you
10 The ABC of Shakespeare
11 Non-verbally speaking
12 Pay attention!
13 Throwing your voice
14 Everything in modulation
15 Circles of attention
16 From page to performance
17 Take a deep breath …
18 Conducting me, conducting you
19 From first impressions to classroom presence
20 Power poser
21 Status play
22 Status tutorial
23 Space invaders
24 Do what I say, not what I do
25 Niced to death
26 Praise be!
27 Good cop, bad cop
28 Structured improvisation
29 On the way to the forum
30 Uppers and downers
31 The art of multi-tasking
32 Take a walk on the funny side (Part 1)
33 Take a walk on the funny side (Part 2)
34 One moment in time
35 Teachers caught on camera



There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Putting the Human Centre Stage”

You may also like…