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17799Re: [dogme] Re: Dogme Business English ebook

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  • Dennis Newson
    Jul 7, 2014
      Mark and Phil and list.

      You remind me of the time when I was involved on Dogme and elsewhere with long and helpful discussions about managing the defining burden of EFL teachers - marking essays and other wirtten texts. At the time I was teaching German university EFL teachers-in-training -  and had 6 2-hour university level  courses per week  - alongside committee work, being Head of Department for a year., running teaching practice in local and not so local schools..... etc. plus an attempt at a private life and some off-duty time for reading, walking listening to and playing music,... and thinking..

      How did I manage? Well thus...especially how I struggled  with the impossible chore of marking.

      Research-based approach

      I got the students, as future teachers, thinking about the princiles and practices of "correction of spoken and written output." My students did not make mistakes, of course, their interlangauage flagged growing points  points in their learning/acquistion? of English. 

      I gave them short quotations from EFL writers explaining  the concepts of process v. product, the value of peer comment and the (American?) belief in drafts and re-writes. I focussed on references to research that showed that detailed , written corrections by the facilitator showed no signs of effectiveness.

      The students laughed at this, but then asked anxiously: "You will still correct our weekly assignments, won't you?".

      I gave them anonymous questionnaires - there were about 35 in the group - asking them to try to tell me openly whether they preferred my general, content-orientated, general comments: "What! Honestly? All five of you together? or the detailed process of underlining, correction and attempted categorization of error - Prep for preposition, P for punctuation, T for tense etc.etc.

      100% said they wanted both. Only 1 from the 35 confessed that he did not read my remarks and corrections. All the rest swore that they read them eagerly.

      Nonethess, despite , to take a single example,  so many thousands (?) of times over the  years crossing out commas after 'that' as in : "I remember that, I liked..." I never saw any evidence that I had any effect whatsoever against  the persistent , interfering sacred rule of German punctuation: dass + comma.

      I tried to keep up with my weekly essay corrections, but of course I could not. always do so.  The worst times were when I sat dutifully at my desk but realised that I had just read a few sentences for the fourth time and simply could not take in what I was reading. The personal health warning was when I found a tension in my stomach REFUSED to let me read on. It was like the device  that lorries have or had fitted that made driving over a certain speed impossible. There was a nervous brake in my stomach that made reading on impossible.

      My 35 used to produce once weekly, a three minute spontaneous  piece of writing in class.It was AMAZING how much they could write in  three minutes(times 35). They also, during the week. up to Friday at 16:00. I think,  handed in a serious if short , 3-4 pages of A4 Assignment. My promise was that t these would be (fully correct) and returned the following week .

      And they had to be because part of each weekly  session was dealing with a worksheet of "Points arising" - an A4 list of bits of language I collected from my current marking and printed out with the categorization of  "mistake" given - but not the correction. (How they loved those. "But what about, what about, what about  ?...Could it be, could it be? Why isn't this correct, that correct? Why is this wrong? etc. etc.

      As I floundered I suddenly thought of asking correspondents on the discussion lists - mostly  American, as it happened, teaching in universities - how many students they had in their groups. Their answers floored me: Five or six - sometimes upt to 8.Nine is the limit.

      So? How did I cope?

      I played the system.

      I was extremely fortunate to be working where:

      1.  We had the legal right to phone in to the Department Office and cancel a forthcoming session/seminar, WITHOUT giving a reason. The staff put up a: "Dennis Newson's Friday class is cancelled." You could do this twice in one week........
      2.  When the going was tough a sympathetic Dr.could easily  be found to "write one sick " for x days, up to two weeks."  A  Dr's certificate in Germany is/was holy and never questioned.It's legal. Defined. That  is what is important in my host culture..
      3.  Every two or three years, as part  of my available back-up system, out of term time, I went to a fascinating Psychosomatic Hypnosis Clinic 
      for a 6-week cure.

       The Berghof Clinic , Rinteln is in a beautiful part of Germany. I had a private room - though the cure itself was paid for by mecidal insurance - I hired a bicycle and in the afternoons rode along the banks of the Weser or walked in the woods and hills above. I had two or three private sessions a week and, invaluable, group, art therapy, acitve and passive music therapy, training in "Autogenisch Training" - a self-hypnosis-based relaxation technique, and Dr. Dogs (Yes, I know, forget the s, write backwards and you have "God") who owned the medieval building in which the clinic was housed, insisted that the evening meal should be excellent, served ina congenial atmosphere - white cloths, waitresses and wine, one should dress not formally, but no track suits, and discussion of one's illness was strictly, absolutely forbidden. "Discuss  your problems with your therapist not your neighbour." We had to be in by 10:00 in the evening, but were free to wander the town and countryside at our leisure - as long as we turned up on time for our fixed appointments. ( I once got permission to stay out until 11 because I ws going to a concert in a nearby church which was not due to end until 10:30).

      After 6 weeks in Rinteln I could sleep again,  was recharged and  was ready for another couple of years work, including the impossible burden of marking.

      I leave any possible  useful insights and avenues of thought that may  arise from this self-indulgent reminiscence to Dogge list readers.

      :-)  If you got THIS far,



      On 7 July 2014 00:45, Mark Holloway markgh@... [dogme] <dogme@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      Well put Mark!  And can I add: for the incredibly fortunate among us, QA procedures which by definition aim only to assure us all of quality at the level of the very lowest common denominator.  


      On 6 July 2014 23:31, M C Johnstone mcjsa@... [dogme] <dogme@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      Hi Dennis,

      I have seen this indirectly addressed in the form of teachers defending
      McNuggets teaching from course books with the claim that they do not
      have the time to teach bookless. Of course, they can all do it - so they
      say (tacit admission that bookless teaching requires skill) but novice
      teachers may struggle (further admission that this requires both skill
      and experience). Other problems arise from admin demanding
      "accountability" and a perceived need for solidly predictable outcomes
      with built in facility for plausible deniability when proven to fail
      methods inevitably fail.


      On Sun, Jul 6, 2014, at 09:20 PM, Dennis Newson djn@...
      [dogme] wrote:
      > Phil. The question of stamina you raise and of how much energy aware,
      > sensitve teaching takes is a very real issue, but one which I have rarely
      > seen addressed.
      > Dennis
      > On 6 July 2014 18:39, philawade@... [dogme]
      > <dogme@yahoogroups.com>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > Hi Dennis,
      > >
      > > I teach in various places and one of them is, like you say, a place where
      > > there is no budget. When it rains, I have to use my umbrella or stand where
      > > the puddles or drips won't soak me. Our previous 'limited' copy budget has
      > > gone it seems and so I am where I like to be i.e. approaching lessons with
      > > minimal input to maximum speaking. People rarely bring anything, even pens
      > > and paper. This situation scare some teachers, it would have scared me for
      > > the first few years of my career. The million dollar question is:
      > >
      > > How can you plan a mixed ability speaking course of 2 hour lessons without
      > > copies?
      > >
      > > When I was first getting into Dogme, I was using the Jason Renshaw lesson
      > > structure of speaking followed by language focus. This worked really great
      > > with motivated small groups who were being let off the leash for the first
      > > time ever.
      > >
      > > With 20/30 A1-B2 less motivated students taking English as their second or
      > > third language, it is more problematic.
      > >
      > > I don't know about other people but Dogme teaching takes a lot out of me
      > > as I really teach to my full potential and have to be constant aware and
      > > reactive. Doing 6 or 8 hours like that every day is tiring. Here then, we
      > > tackle the issue of sustainability.
      > >
      > > Phil
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > --
      > --
      > *
      > Dennis aka Osna (Newson)
      > Joint Coordinator IATEFL YLTSIG with Kalyan Chattopadhay
      > Committee member IATEFL GISIG
      > Committee member IATEFL Associate ELTA-OWL(Germany)
      > Moderator old-fashioned YLTSIG email discussion list
      > Dogme
      > Second Life/EduNation: Osnacantab Nesterov
      > Webhead
      > learningwithcomputers
      > ELTON 2005 ELTeCS member innovation team winner
      > I




      Dennis aka Osna (Newson)
      Joint Coordinator  IATEFL YLTSIG with Kalyan Chattopadhay
      Committee member IATEFL GISIG
      Committee member IATEFL Associate ELTA-OWL(Germany)
      Moderator old-fashioned YLTSIG email discussion list

      Second Life/EduNation: Osnacantab Nesterov
      ELTON 2005 ELTeCS member innovation team winner


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