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Re: My concerns about dogme

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  • Gorana
    Dear all, Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts :) I ll try to be as succinct as possible about the points I found interesting: a) Simon mentioned
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 26, 2013
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      Dear all,

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts :)
      I'll try to be as succinct as possible about the points I found interesting:

      a) Simon mentioned learner-centered approach which is the whole point of dogme, and I understand that. However, I feel that relying solely on students' needs in, let's say, roughly 25 lessons per course would create an unsystematic mess both in their heads as learners and ours as teachers. Maybe I'm wrong, especially having in mind that I haven't really tested the theory in practice while some of you have, but no matter what angle I take, in my head, this method will always create some holes in the knowledge which could be more and less debilitating for future language learning. The point is that language courses should be based/built around some system, no matter how loose it might be. That's why I feel that dogme could work for intermediate and above students who already have some solid knowledge of the language, but I'm still skeptical about the good it would do to the lower level classes.

      b) I agree with Luke about the BC videos; they probably aren't the most illustrative ones considering the general conditions and the mixed-ability class. However, you mentioned the interplay of interaction and instruction and how it fits naturally in class dynamics but I'm inclined to believe the opposite; at least when it comes to teaching major grammar chunks like Present Perf. In my experience, interrupting the discussion to teach/correct/revise/elicit some, well let's say 'minor' grammar points doesn't really break the dynamics of the class, but...teaching something as complex as PP in medias res so to speak, and then bouncing back to whatever it was you were discussing seems confusing - which again leads me back to the inherent need for some kind of structure.

      c) Bruno (and Rob) offered a solution to my grammar question (I was never in USA) and while I completely agree with it (I'd probably do it the same way) I'm a bit skeptical as to the amount of explaining and the time you'd spend on the grammar points of PP. I'm pretty sure there would be at least one overzealous student who'd like to know what's 'have' and what's been' and la la la, it goes on and on. The point I'm trying to make is: you probably wouldn't get away with it so easily and the more you started explaining the more it would sound perplexing to (other) students. So, in my opinion the explanations would probably have to be more of a whole picture kind of thing rather than bits and pieces as in 'Yes, this is positive/negative/question form and now let's use it in the conversation'. Which again leads me to the dynamics of the class which would be seriously interrupted.

      d) Dennis raised a question of what knowing grammar really means aaandd...well yes :) of course, I don't think that the perfect score on grammar test equals practical knowledge. I believe that it's only through conversation that you can actually activate it and bring it up to the surface but while dogme does actually do that - puts grammar in a speaking context, I feel it's much more useful for revising than teaching new grammar precisely for the above-mentioned reasons. I also have to be honest and say I haven't read the book 'uncovering grammar' but will definitely do so because I'm maybe too much of a traditionalist when it comes to grammar so maybe the book will expand my horizons :)

      e) Finally, I feel I should share my classroom experience; the reason I became interested in dogme is my way of teaching which is actually quite similar to it with the exception that I still prefer a system (seems to be the key word in this post :) ) to the spontaneous free flow kind of teaching. So basically, I like to devote most of my time during the lesson on conversation, app 70-80%. If I'm obliged to use a textbook, the prompt is usually some short text from it, otherwise it's something I prepare beforehand (a set of pictures for instance). After a discussion I spend that 30% of the time to clarify, introduce or practise some language/grammar point and I always try to end the lesson with some kind of activity/game to reinforce that knowledge. Of course, the ratio depends on what language unit we're supposed to cover, on my personal assessment of how difficult something will be for them, on the level of English being taught and some other factors too.

      Thank you once more for contributing to discussion. I've read all your posts and having considered all the pros and cons, I'd say that dogme is a good companion to textbook-based courses but I don't think I'd use it 'dogmatically'.
      If you can, please share some videos (or any other material) of dogme teaching, I'd be happy to watch it/read it. :)

      Gorana
    • Rita Baker
      Dear Gorana, I think Dogme works fine as long as you have appropriate scaffolding (Vigotsky) to support it. I invite you to visit
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 28, 2013
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        Dear Gorana,

        I think Dogme works fine as long as you have appropriate 'scaffolding' (Vigotsky) to support it. I invite you to visit www.theglobalapproach.co.uk<http://www.theglobalapproach.co.uk> This is work in progress, but will be providing exactly the scaffolding necessary.
        Best wishes,

        Rita
        Rita Baker | Director
        Lydbury English Centre Ltd
        www.lydbury.co.uk<http://www.lydbury.co.uk>


        From: dogme@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dogme@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Gorana
        Sent: 25 January 2013 15:33
        To: dogme@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [dogme] My concerns about dogme



        Dear all,

        I've been teaching English as a second language for more than 3 years now and the reason I joined this group was to try to get some answers and hear other teachers' thoughts on dogme as a teaching method.
        The first time I became aware of it was half a year ago or so on a seminar here in Belgrade. I've done some research, watched Meddings in some of his dogme classes and read articles about it but I must say that , though it sounds intriguing and refreshing, this method doesn't seem to nourish and encourage actual learning and it also has some serious flaws.
        Why am I saying this?
        Firstly; having watched Meddings' videos on british council site, I've come to realize two things: a)the students liked it because 'it was interesting' b) there wasn't actual learning going on at all.
        Yes, we all want to be immensely entertaining and interesting to our students but our primary goal as teachers is to actually teach students, not to chat with them casually for an hour or so and that's pretty much what happened in the video I'm talking about. So,my first concern is: can you, as a student, learning anything (and how much) if you're working under dogme methodology?
        The other thing I noticed was the difficulty of teaching grammar with dogme. Namely, how can you just casually start explaining Present Perfect when it pops up during a conversation? Ok, you can revise things, that's perfectly fine, but I just don't think that this methodology is grammar-teaching-friendly so to speak.

        Imagine a class: you're chatting about travelling and a student keeps repeating 'I was never in USA'. you know it's incorrect but let's say you haven't taught PP yet, so what do you do? just correct him without givign further explanation or freeze the discussion in order to extrapolate the business of PP and then go back to talking and chatting?
        I hope you see my point here; it seems impractical and I believe that dogme is maybe suitable for intermediate + students, and even in that case, I don't think I'd spend the whole course relying on it. Maybe in some conversational courses I would actually, but not in classical ones in which your students expect you to teach them something explicitly and not just beat around the bush and talk about things as they naturally come into conversation. That just seems too irresponsible.
        In my opinion, textbooks, no matter how seriously flawed they sometimes might be, still give a wider range of different types of exercises which are more beneficial for students' language understanding in the long run.

        Ok, so I'd really like to hear from you, feel free to change my mind because maybe I'm missing the big picture here :)



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      • Rita Baker
        ‘Generally I think we should see tenses not as linear steps towards fluency, but as related features of a connected system which needs to be seen and
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 28, 2013
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          ‘Generally I think we should see tenses not as linear steps towards fluency, but as related features of a connected system which needs to be seen and experienced as a whole’.

          Hear, hear. I have developed the materials to help this! www.theglobalapproach.co.uk<http://www.theglobalapproach.co.uk>

          Rita Baker | Director
          Lydbury English Centre Ltd
          www.lydbury.co.uk<http://www.lydbury.co.uk>


          From: dogme@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dogme@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Luke Meddings
          Sent: 25 January 2013 16:12
          To: dogme@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [dogme] My concerns about dogme



          Hi Gorana

          I do think dogme nourishes and encourages actual learning. It definitely goes beyond 'enjoyable interaction', and the kind of interventions you ask about are key to this. There's lots on how and when to correct, suggest, refine etc in the book I wrote with Scott, and plenty of great ideas on blogs, Dale Coulter's might be a good place to start and there will be links to others. And I would say you can 'pause' discussion without freezing it, giving as much information as you think is helpful.

          btw I would never say the video(s) you watched encapsulate dogme; I am the first to notice their flaws and the circumstances they were filmed in are kind of the opposite of the classroom community in which dogme flourishes (and nourishes!). I have had some positive feedback about them so overall I'm glad they're available. The learners in the second lesson (in Exeter) had some interesting things to say about the nature of their engagement with the lesson. But the filmed lessons are by no means comprehensive or perfect.

          Your questions about intervention relate to notions of pre-emptive or reactive teaching. I see no harm in introducing learners to a new form, or reminding of it, if they are trying to use it in a naturally occurring context. After all, it will relate to a tense in their L1.

          That is a challenge, but it's pretty much how we approach pron work. Just as there's a pron chart (showing all the sounds) in many classrooms, there should be a tense chart with all the verb forms so one can point to a quick example without breaking the flow too much.

          But part of the flow is in the pause and play - the interplay of interaction and instruction. Part 'chat', part 'what's that?'

          Luke

          On 25 Jan 2013, at 15:32, "Gorana" gorana_ferizovic@...<mailto:gorana_ferizovic%40yahoo.com>> wrote:

          > Dear all,
          >
          > I've been teaching English as a second language for more than 3 years now and the reason I joined this group was to try to get some answers and hear other teachers' thoughts on dogme as a teaching method.
          > The first time I became aware of it was half a year ago or so on a seminar here in Belgrade. I've done some research, watched Meddings in some of his dogme classes and read articles about it but I must say that , though it sounds intriguing and refreshing, this method doesn't seem to nourish and encourage actual learning and it also has some serious flaws.
          > Why am I saying this?
          > Firstly; having watched Meddings' videos on british council site, I've come to realize two things: a)the students liked it because 'it was interesting' b) there wasn't actual learning going on at all.
          > Yes, we all want to be immensely entertaining and interesting to our students but our primary goal as teachers is to actually teach students, not to chat with them casually for an hour or so and that's pretty much what happened in the video I'm talking about. So,my first concern is: can you, as a student, learning anything (and how much) if you're working under dogme methodology?
          > The other thing I noticed was the difficulty of teaching grammar with dogme. Namely, how can you just casually start explaining Present Perfect when it pops up during a conversation? Ok, you can revise things, that's perfectly fine, but I just don't think that this methodology is grammar-teaching-friendly so to speak.
          >
          > Imagine a class: you're chatting about travelling and a student keeps repeating 'I was never in USA'. you know it's incorrect but let's say you haven't taught PP yet, so what do you do? just correct him without givign further explanation or freeze the discussion in order to extrapolate the business of PP and then go back to talking and chatting?
          > I hope you see my point here; it seems impractical and I believe that dogme is maybe suitable for intermediate + students, and even in that case, I don't think I'd spend the whole course relying on it. Maybe in some conversational courses I would actually, but not in classical ones in which your students expect you to teach them something explicitly and not just beat around the bush and talk about things as they naturally come into conversation. That just seems too irresponsible.
          > In my opinion, textbooks, no matter how seriously flawed they sometimes might be, still give a wider range of different types of exercises which are more beneficial for students' language understanding in the long run.
          >
          > Ok, so I'd really like to hear from you, feel free to change my mind because maybe I'm missing the big picture here :)
          >
          >

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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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