This weekend I was away in Donetsk visiting the IH Donetsk school, seeing old friends, meeting new teachers, witnessing Ukrainian Communists singing songs to commorate the anniversary of Lenin’s death, and also to attend some joint school input sessions and feedback about the IH Dos conference.
Of course one of the hot topics was Dogme.
We started by discussing what we had heard about Dogme and I was invited to report to the group on the 3 central principles and it’s history.
After the DOSes reported on what they heard Jeremy Harmer and Luke Meddings say at the conference a general consensus was reached that It is good to think about the core tennents [not relying on material, focusing on conversation, and dealing with emergent language.] However, to completely unplug lessons (in our context) was not a good ideafor a few reasons:
- Our Students expect books and want books
- New teachers can’t be expected to teach completely unplugged (despite ideas of teacher training unplugged)
- What about non audio learner types [I found this argument personally the most persasuive especially considering my interest in teaching Dyslexic students.]
- Coursebooks are well prepared, have great material and are often based of authentic material (though a comment was made about Jeremy Harmer’s involvement in authoring text book which a nudge and a wink of suggestion).
“Well I do Error correction, that’s dealing with emerging language so I’m a dogme-tician.” [my paraphrase],
”I asked my students to bring in a photo, they supplied the material, I’m a dogme-tician.”
Unfortunately this doesn’t necessarily make them a Dogme-tician.
After all I could take it to the ridiculous extreme and do a lesson straight from a next book (but get them to show a picture on their phone related to the topic) and I could say the very same things.
- There was conversation,
- There was error correction of emerging language,
- There was material supplied by the students.
- I started to make more opportunities for students to bring in material.
- Instead of giving out a list of questions to ask each other [even if they have to make the question] I would ask them to choose the questions they wanted to ask.
- I gave more lesson time for conversation.
- I planned for more delayed error correction, brought in blank material [vocab flashcards, question sheets, etc] so students could turn them into an activity for whatever vocab or grammar topic that emerged.
There is just a big difference from reflecting back and saying my lesson is slightly Dogmetic and sitting down and thinking how you can make it follow dogmetic ideas more.