Thanks to everyone who sent me accounts of their "last class", both
on and off-list.
Just to fill you in a bit: I'm giving a plenary talk at a conference
hosted by the University of Canterbury, whose general theme is
approaches and methods, the state of the art etc. My talk is
titled "Dogme: Nothing if not critical". The abstract for the talk
"Dogme" teachers claim to be "looking for ways of exploiting the
learning opportunities offered by the raw material of the classroom,
that is the language that emerges from the needs, interests,
concerns and desires of the people in the room." But is it a
method? Is it a technique? Is it hokum? Seven years on, I will
briefly review the dogme story, and attempt to situate its
(emergent) principles within the orbit of critical pedagogy.
I figured it would be nice to have some up-to-the-minute accoutns of
how so-called dogme teachers teach, and, perhaps more interesting
still, how they TALK about teaching.
This latter focus also relates to a plenary I'm giving in Brazil in
July, the details of which are:
Teaching: Culture and counterculture
Teachers, like other professionals, form "communities of practice".
In the way that they talk about their teaching, they co-construct
discourse communities with shared values and practices: these values
and practices constitute the local teaching "culture". I conducted
some small-scale research into the way that one teaching community
talks about its practice, and I will share the results with you,
including my own tentative inferences about the shared beliefs that
underpin their particular teaching culture. I will then contrast
these discourses and theories with those of another teaching
culture, the teachers who comprise the Dogme ELT on-line community.
(I can already hear Dennis wincing at some of the "newspeak" here!)
Finally I'm down to teach a two week MA course on "Critical
Pedagogy" in NZ, also in July - and one session of this will be
devoted to Dogme, for which, again, accounts of current practice
will be useful. I'll provide more details when this gets written up.
SO - thanks to everyone who contributed - it's not too late to keep
sending data. In case you missed the brief, it was:
1. Provide an account of the last lesson you taught (not important
what, who to, or how long the account is - can be twenty words or
two hundred - just has to be your last lesson prior to reading this)
2. Tell me how long you have been teaching, and where you are
Incidentally, and while i'm on this self-promotional riff, for those
of you out there who might be considering an MA in TESOL, as of July
1st I'll be on the academic staff of the New School University in
New York, writing for, and teaching on, an on-line MA that starts in
September. The website is: http://www.newschool.edu/matesol/
Well, that's enough of me for a bit!