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17813Re: [dogme] Re: Using a Dogme lesson with a difficult General Director

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  • philawade
    Jul 20, 2014
      Sounds interesting Amanda.

      I am very against dull grammar but very into investigating language which involves grammar and vocabulary work. When I started along a Dogme exploratory path back in 2011, I saw what I believed to be the standard dogme lesson structure which had speaking followed by language a focus. The danger was that some students would just think the speaking part was a test to look for errors. This troubled me for some time. I tried correcting and 'scaffolding' language throughout the conversation, giving help before and after and even the next lesson. The problem was and still is that the tempo and atmosphere can change significantly when you go into 'teacher' mode and start writing grammar on the board. Students mentally slip back into primary school mode and listen. Now, with an eager class, this is great as they start asking questions and you work together on it. In these situations, I found a moveable whiteboard or ipad useful. However, with some adults who just want speaking, it isn't what they paid for and want the least amount of work possible even if it will help them.

      So, for me, part of it is gauging students to see what works with who and when. Without sticking to any standard plan, structure or approach, in my opinion, can we really deliver an engaging lesson that has the other person or people at the centre. Note that I don't say 'student' here.

      An obvious argument is then that what is the point of studying all these methods just to eventually do whatever fits. If that is the goal then we don't need a CELTA and anyone could teach well. The other is that we have to learn options and create our own approach based on theory and practice. I have personally seen good teachers who had no degree or any TEFL qualification but they were limited to what they were doing.I have also seen very qualified people teach similar lessons.

      Professionally, I think it is sad that we don't all get the opportunity to develop our own style due to constraints and just doing set courses. I have at times put my own development ahead of following the syllabus and been warned not to. I no longer work for those people as they just wanted a factory worker. I honestly believe that a good teaching environment needs to be one that nurtures staff to reach their potential and involves the students in that journey.

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