Re: [dogme] Language practice
- So, *this* is the message Rob was replying to! I got his reply before I got your message Dennis. But my response would be the same! Do both! Why not? You're covering your needs by keeping a record of the items taught. You're creating a database of discrete items covered (which might be useful for writing a short test, giving Peter a summary, recycling in an artificially authentic way...etc). At the same time, you're letting Peter learn at his own pace and pick up what needs to be picked up (confidence, pron and, of course, vocab).
I remember somebody a while back (can't remember who and no time to search) using driving lessons as a way to question dogme's worth. Well, I've just started learning how to drive and it couldn't be more dogme! There's no book, no photocopies, just me, the teacher, the car, the road and the other road users (damn them). I'm sat behind the steering wheel (there's a lot of metaphorical mileage - boom boom - in this one), my feet cover the pedals, I'm driving and making mistakes. My teacher sits beside me. She tells me what's happening, asks me questions about what has happened, what will happen etc. She's ready to take over if I need her to, but otherwise she just lets me get on with it.
A week ago, I'd never sat behind the steering wheel of a car. Now I'm changing gears with gay abandon, speeding up to 40mph (where permitted, of course), driving on busy roads and trying to perfect my three point turns.
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- Dennis describes a language session, and ask, "Any comments?"
If you think of language learning in a Stevickian way, i.e., making
changes in the learners' long-term memory, in terms of (as Scott recently
quoted Stevick) "what new forms usually go with what meanings... and also
with what other forms and expectations". [These memory resources] "are
made up of networks" [and] "the key items in a network are often
affective"- "if a new combination of items is complex, rich, and
affectively strong, its availability will be easier and longer lasting". .
. . . then your student's intimate experience with that sentence ('A key
characteristic of intercultural competence is the fact that it prepares the
learner for exposure to all cultures, not just the one whose language is
being learned.') both in terms of meaning and style, makes it appear he had
a potentially rich language learning experience.
How about asking your student for comments? Ask him to write a short diary
entry about each future session, noting what he felt was particularly
useful. If you write one, too (that will include your raw count of new
items, of course), you can compare it with his. To start, ask him to write
a retrospective entry on the 5 sessions so far, noting what has been
memorable and valuable for him.
- Julian makes the excellent suggestion:
"How about asking your student for comments? Ask him to write a short diary
entry about each future session."
I have planned to do something like this, though I may (have to) get Peter to tell me rather than
write it in a diary. I'll let you know what he says.
It may just be worth commenting that my feeling about not getting P. to write down his thoughts is
based on a cultural observation. German academics reach for the 'phone when they want to
communicate. They are VERY reluctant, and very unrelaxed, about committing themselves to paper.
Dennis Newson (retired)
formerly at the University of Osnabrueck, Germany
List Manager CETEFL-L