- 1. The teacher is the most important person in the classroom.
Hopefully the content is the most important thing in the classroom and
the teacher and students equal participants.
I quite like it when my students take over and take control of the
learning, I sort of nod off in the corner until required to answer a
question they feel I should know the answer to! Maybe I should remove
the phrase "nod off" but .... when you're teaching 26 x 60 minutes a
I do wonder though whether Dogme has more credence outside the UK - I'll
explain what I mean.
I was recently discussing the style(s) of teaching with an Advanced
evening group. All the group work during the day and come for 1 2 and a
half hour lesson per week. One comment that struck me was "It's nice to
'chat' and talk about language but we could do this down the pub, I've
come here to have more structured input and I want you [the teacher] to
tell me what I need. If I was in my own country this would be great
[Dogme] but here I can get most of this outside the classroom."
Now, maybe it's what I'm doing [my dogme teaching] that's wrong! But I'd
be interested in what other people (particularly those working in the
UK) have to say.
I do like the comment from Luke about beasts of burden - strikes a chord
- Oh! yes, that's what my institute currently think I am!
It also raises the question of 'fraternizing' with students!
Another point to be made about beasts of burden is that they may
actually have a place in the language classroom. I'm just off to
Uzbekistan at the end of the week to work on a project, 65% of the
student population are rural ..... maybe relevance of materials will be
a key issue?!
Dr Evil (aka Adrian!)
- Hi Adrian
I'm not the person best suited to answer you as I am still on my huge
existential angst trip. But your post made me think.
You wrote of how your students said, 'I've come here to have more structured
input and I want you [the teacher] to tell me what I need. If I was in my
own country this would be great [Dogme] but here I can get most of this
outside the classroom."
Presumably, they could also probably get a lot more structured input in
their country, which begs the question, what did they hope to get from
travelling to the UK? But more relevant is the idea that what we as
humanists/dogmetics/whatever are about is teaching people how to learn
English. We see the best way of doing that as by getting people to think for
themselves and learning to analyse and draw assumptions for themselves.
*They * are responsible for structuring their learning. It's promising that
your students have identified the world outside the classroom as being
nothing more than an extension of the classroom (I'm sure I've got my
priorities all wrong, should it be the classroom as an extension of the
world outside?). Ultimately there need be no real difference between the two
worlds apart from the fact that in the classroom you've got somebody who
might be expected to fill the role of resident expert. My students are
slowly beginning to ask questions about English outside the classroom.
Actually, your scenario reminds me of a time when I was sat with a friend in
a café in Bilbao, struggling to get to grips with the basic formula that
underlies Spanish conditional sentences. My friend wasn't sure (grammar
being subject to regional variations), so she asked the barman who asked
another customer. The general conclusion was that nobody really knew what
the Royal Spanish Academy would consider good grammar, but in Bilbao, they
say...'. So, yeah, quite literally, you *could* be doing this down the pub.
You might want to ask your student if this was a suggestion or a complaint!
I've recently been inspired by a quotation from Martin Heidegger, quoted in
'Freedom to Learn', by Carl Rogers and H. Jerome Freiberg:
'The real teacher, in fact, lets nothing else be learned than - learning.
His conduct, therefore often produces the impression that we properly learn
nothing from him, if by 'learning' we now suddenly understand merely the
procurement of useful information.'
- Dr Evil (aka Adrian!) wrote:
> It also raises the question of 'fraternizing' with students!I'd like to explore this question if we may. What are the popular thoughts? (I
would assume they are negative.) What are the various opinions here?
I, personally, am a proponent and have become quite good friends with students.
However, I can see there might be problems in it (depending on the
circumstances) but I believe there can also be great rewards for the cautious.
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- In response to Brian:
I suppose so much depends on the circumstances, not to say the motivation!
But as a general rule, the idea that it is unethical to be friends with your
students is one that strikes me as ridiculous and contrary to the purpose of
As for how many friends I have as a result of teaching, not too many. I met
my wife when she was studying at the academy where I worked, our 'wedding
godmother' (in Spain) was an ex-student of mine and I have met one or two
people in class who have developed into friends.
Actually, the whole issue relates to a conversation I had yesterday with my
wife in which I confessed that I found it very hard to relate to a great
deal of my students at the moment. I have a mental image of them as spoilt
little rich kids who put more value in the acquisitive nature of money than
Feeling like this, it is impossible to teach them effectively. Discuss.