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Re: dogmetic spirit

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  • marina sanzin
    Hi Mr Evil, I explained I had no idea of the dogmetic spirit, all I wanted to say was: here I am, this is what I ve been doing with some students, what do you
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 1 5:32 AM
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      Hi Mr Evil,

      I explained I had no idea of the dogmetic spirit, all I wanted to say was: "here I am, this is what I've been doing with some students, what do you think about it?". Or "what comes to your mind about water in literature?" And again, I don't want to feel bad because I am not "into it", the spirit I mean. I am very interested in what I read daily from this list but last week I didn't even know there was such a group. Anyway thank you for indirectly replying to my query.

      Mrs Live





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    • Adrian Tennant
      Hi Marina, I wasn t attacking you but rather trying to draw everyone s attention to one of the fundamentals of Dogme - that it s the students that are at the
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 1 5:42 AM
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        Hi Marina,

        I wasn't 'attacking' you but rather trying to draw everyone's attention to
        one of the fundamentals of Dogme - that it's the students that are at the
        heart.
        One thing I noticed with many peoples recent postings, including our
        Diarmuid's, was that people were going in with plans as to what they wanted
        to find out from the students.
        Wouldn't it be worth opening everything up from the word go and saying to
        the students - write down 10 things you'd like to be asked about (for
        example)

        Dr E
      • zosia grudzinska
        ... I sat through two hours of a boring staff meeting today - traditional for the teacher s first day at school at mine at least - nothing better to squash
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 1 10:35 AM
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          Adrian Tennant wrote:
          > Open the door and let the students in.

          I sat through two hours of a boring staff meeting today - traditional for
          the teacher's first day at school at mine at least - nothing better to
          squash the spirit of independent venture and joyous expectation... which, I
          suspect, is OK as the official line of a school system goes, it's not
          supposed to be NICE after all for chrissakes it's supposed to be
          EDUCATION!...
          but...
          tomorrow the real classes begin and my "plan" is to arrange the chairs in a
          circle and sit in one and wait for the situation to kind of develop. I have
          three groups which have been with me for some years now and two new ones
          where I don't have a clue who they are and what their interests, attitudes
          and possibilities are - so nothing better came to me in the way of
          conducting the first class.
          I suppose, again, that's dogme nevertheless I am rather apprehensive. Kinda
          like before any first date!
          Zosia
        • Diarmuid Fogarty
          Hi Doc I don t think there s anything wrong with going in with some *ideas* (not plans) about what you might find out from the students. People go into all
          Message 4 of 16 , Sep 1 12:30 PM
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            Hi Doc
            I don't think there's anything wrong with going in with some *ideas* (not plans) about what you might find out from the students. People go into all types of interaction with just that kind of situation behind them. What might not be in the keeping of the spirit is to be expecting to find out certain info and dismissing the rest as irrelevant or wrong.

            I also think we need to be a bit wary of going for pure dogme as I suspect that nobody on this list is about pure dogme. A quick look at the Guardian list shows that people already think of us as dogmatic purists. That is something which needs to be challenged.


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          • Sue Murray
            ... have ... If it s any help, I ve done the same with all my adult class first lessons over the last 2 years (*admittedly*, with the good student
            Message 5 of 16 , Sep 1 3:37 PM
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              Zosia wrote:
              >tomorrow the real classes begin and my "plan" is to arrange the chairs in a
              >circle and sit in one and wait for the situation to kind of develop. I
              have
              >three groups which have been with me for some years now and two new ones
              >where I don't have a clue who they are and what their interests, attitudes
              >and possibilities are - so nothing better came to me in the way of
              >conducting the first class.

              If it's any help, I've done the same with all my adult class first lessons
              over the last 2 years
              (*admittedly*, with the good student discussion/good teacher interview type
              of
              thing, or something similar, up my sleeve just in case! - also because it's
              often nice to have a valid way of leaving students together for a time
              without teacher on their first meeting....)
              and it's always been wonderful (honest!) so far.

              And, again admittedly, I suppose I don't so much literally wait for the
              situation to kind of develop, but try to 'thread' it quite actively, picking
              up on what's said or relating what someone said to what someone else
              subsequently says - 'feeling' for openings into common/fertile ground -
              which sounds both grim and weird but is probably nothing more than what we
              naturally do when we meet people and want to make friends (a sort of
              multiple first date .....?!!)

              Sue
              PS: in my so limited to be valueless personal sample of Cambridge FCE and
              CAE classes without coursebooks, and 'in a circle' as Zosia
              describes, the 2nd year results are as positive as
              last year's - all students passed. (phew! got the results today!)
              This just shows me that it can be done - but of course I'm quaking in my
              clogs at the thought of doing it again with new classes this year - but if
              the classes
              are as amenable as they have been, it won't be like doing it again, it'll be
              like doing it anew!)


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "zosia grudzinska" <zosia_g@...>
              To: <dogme@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Monday, September 01, 2003 7:35 PM
              Subject: Re: [dogme] first lessons


              > Adrian Tennant wrote:
              > > Open the door and let the students in.
              >
              > I sat through two hours of a boring staff meeting today - traditional for
              > the teacher's first day at school at mine at least - nothing better to
              > squash the spirit of independent venture and joyous expectation... which,
              I
              > suspect, is OK as the official line of a school system goes, it's not
              > supposed to be NICE after all for chrissakes it's supposed to be
              > EDUCATION!...
              > but...
              > tomorrow the real classes begin and my "plan" is to arrange the chairs in
              a
              > circle and sit in one and wait for the situation to kind of develop. I
              have
              > three groups which have been with me for some years now and two new ones
              > where I don't have a clue who they are and what their interests, attitudes
              > and possibilities are - so nothing better came to me in the way of
              > conducting the first class.
              > I suppose, again, that's dogme nevertheless I am rather apprehensive.
              Kinda
              > like before any first date!
              > Zosia
              >
              >
              >
              > To Post a message, send it to: dogme@...
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: dogme-unsubscribe@...
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              >
              >
              >
            • zosia grudzinska
              ... Good for you and them! I (my students) have had only a partial success, three of them (aged 14 and 15) passed their FCE and two (aged 16) failed. But:
              Message 6 of 16 , Sep 1 11:18 PM
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                Sue Murray wrote:
                > in my so limited to be valueless personal sample of Cambridge
                > FCE and
                > CAE classes without coursebooks, and 'in a circle' as Zosia
                > describes, the 2nd year results are as positive as
                > last year's - all students passed. (phew! got the results today!)

                Good for you and them! I (my students) have had only a partial success,
                three of them (aged 14 and 15) passed their FCE and two (aged 16) failed.
                But: they all have had five years of English classes - for the most a
                "normal", not intensive school course of 2 hours a week - the first three
                years in a bigger group with no focus on the exam and only in the last two
                years they moved to this "special group" as they decided they wanted to have
                a go at the exam. It's interesting to note that the the three younger
                students who have passed (one with a C and two with a B) were more relying
                on doing things "out of the rut", surfing the Internet, chatting online and
                writing their own books, while the older ones favoured the "school
                approach".
                In another FCE group I observe dynamics changing while one of the students
                took up a lot of independent activities - using English in his work to
                communicate with an Italian specialist (it's something about metal industry
                machines so he's been teaching me lexis and I'm helping him smooth over his
                style in business letters), surfing the net and... like he reports, reading
                "regularly for at leasst 15 minutes before sleep" - he says it's everything
                and anything as long as the language is English.
                Reminds me of my "early days" - the fascination with the language was such
                that I was literally hunting and begging for things to read and as it was in
                the 60s and 70s communist Poland there was not a lot handy... I used to go
                to "Pewex" shops (imported goods for hard currency) and read labels!

                One more thing before I set off to school, to add to my earlier posting:

                as concerns the new groups I do have a "happy song" in case that's what they
                would like doing to break the ice. but I really have nothing for the others
                and while I'm thinking of the reason I've sussed it out:
                do you prepare for a meeting with friends?
                well, that's what it'll be for me, at least the first class is purely a
                social event.
                Which reminds me in turn about an incident which although happened almost a
                year ago still comes back to miind and keeps worrying me:
                at an IATEFL conference in Poznan, Poland, during a panel discussion on the
                role of a teacher I said I was (in many cases ) my students' friend. There
                was a strong protest from the floor to the tune that "we are professionals
                to teach not to befriend them". To be sure, I haven't fully discounted the
                retort as I can see a lot of common sense in trying to maintain distance but
                I have met multitudes of students who in the course of our "professional"
                acquaintance have become very close to me and I to them. In private lessons
                for example they sometimes come out with personal problems (my counselling
                past telling, or what? am I subconsciously drawing them out?) so it's hard
                not to perceive someone as a friend where you've been discussing such
                intimate matters with them! I suppose I should have said that I'm being
                friendly with them, not friends... might that be the difference? (although
                in several cases they ARE my friends, literally!)
                What do the others on the list think?
                Zosia
              • Dennis Newson
                Zosia writes/asks: I suppose I should have said that I m being friendly with them, not friends... might that be the difference? I think that s it, Zosia. I
                Message 7 of 16 , Sep 2 12:55 AM
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                  Zosia writes/asks:

                  "I suppose I should have said that I'm being friendly with them,
                  not friends... might that be the difference?

                  I think that's it, Zosia. I think I was always very friendly
                  towards the students I taught i.e. informal, sympathetic,
                  prepared to listen at length, approachable, did not object to
                  their vocing their frustration and anger with the university,
                  but although one or two became friends and I did go to a couple
                  of small student parties I'm pretty sure that I always remained
                  for the majority "Dennis the friendly lecturer" rather than "My
                  buddy, Dennis."

                  Dennis
                • Adrian Tennant
                  Sandra asks: Is planning the class against the principles of Dogme? Well .... not necessarily. And, as usual someone has said exactly what I would have liked
                  Message 8 of 16 , Sep 2 1:29 AM
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                    Sandra asks:

                    Is planning the class against the principles of Dogme?

                    Well .... not necessarily. And, as usual someone has said exactly what I
                    would have liked to - well done Rob.

                    My main problem is that it seems as though the output is being planned as
                    well as the input. Often, with planned lessons, there is no room for the
                    students (this is one of the faults of the 'turn to page 73' school). As a
                    CELTA trainer I have often come across fellow trainers who have said to
                    their trainees "You deviated from your aims." - Well surely it was the
                    students who deviated from the 'planned' aims & outcomes. It's a bit like
                    putting words into someones mouth .... or has echoes of one of my favourite
                    sayings: When we want your opinion we'll give it to you.

                    Rob asks why entering the classroom without planned activities or materials
                    frightens teachers.
                    In my experience it's this feeling of nakedness.
                    I remember when I first 'planned' to go into the classroom naked
                    (metaphorically of course). I felt 'defenceless' and 'naked' and this made
                    me feel vunerable. Materials are often used to hide behind, as a kind of
                    safety net ... but to many they end up being used as a barrier. I watch my
                    colleagues go 'armed' with reams of photocopies and come back devested.
                    Students leave with sheafs of paper that they will lose (or in some cases
                    they leave the photocopies on the desks much to the annoyance of the
                    teachers - who then question the students attitude or motivation rather than
                    their own reliance on photocopies!).

                    Finally, to go back to Sandra's question - I plan every lesson in my mind.
                    While my colleagues are rushing around like blue-assed flies cursing the
                    fact that the photocopier has broken down or that someone hasn't returned a
                    book I am sitting back meditating, relaxing and thinking my way through
                    three hours of nakedness - wondering what surprises lie in store, wondering
                    what I should do if nobody has anything to say, wondering .....

                    Dr Evil
                  • Dennis Newson
                    Hey, friend Adrian. Aren t you spinning words? You write you sit : wondering what surprises lie in store, wondering what I should do if nobody has anything
                    Message 9 of 16 , Sep 2 3:16 AM
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                      Hey, friend Adrian. Aren't you spinning words?

                      You write you sit :

                      "wondering what surprises lie in store, wondering
                      what I should do if nobody has anything to say, wondering ....."

                      Surely that sort of "wondering" is planning?

                      Dennis
                    • sddowling
                      Hi Zosia On the friends thing Probably the people who took you to task at the IATEFL just saw an opportunity to give a more TEACHER view. They probably think
                      Message 10 of 16 , Sep 2 3:41 AM
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                        Hi Zosia
                        On the friends thing
                        Probably the people who took you to task at the IATEFL just
                        saw an opportunity to give a more TEACHER view. They probably
                        think just the same as you but don´t have the gutts to say it.
                        We are all people so how can we not make friends if we enter
                        into social interaction for long periods of time with our
                        learners. Relationships will naturally form.
                        I don´t see any problem
                        From a institutional piont of view it is great as the
                        students keep coming back to the school and they keep paying.
                        It´s a hard competitive world and that´s what most managers
                        want. So who can complain. Certainly not the the students and
                        the teacher when they trust each other. I don´t think the
                        roles change that much just that we are being human by
                        listening understanding and sharing. Not a Robot teacher
                        As for private students. Yes we do become friends with many
                        of them. I have had one guy for 3 years and we have had FCE
                        and CAE classes together and all we seem to do is talk about
                        football as we share this love. In our classes we have
                        watched games, we go to each other parties, he send me e-
                        mails and we even shared the terrible 9-11 tragedy while in
                        class. He still however pays me so despite being close the
                        roles are still there but we are friends.
                        In larger classes it is still the same but we don´t have to
                        marry them of watch the birth of their children. I don´t
                        think we have to go that far and maybe the IATEFL bores were
                        exaggerating a bit.
                        Nice to share this with you
                        I´m still trying find to burn
                        Shaun



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                      • midill@aol.com
                        I often remain friends with students long after they have completed my class. Last week I had lunch with a former student from Argentina, a dermatologist in
                        Message 11 of 16 , Sep 2 6:38 AM
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                          I often remain friends with students long after they have completed my class.
                          Last week I had lunch with a former student from Argentina, a dermatologist
                          in her country who shared her knowledge of skin problems with my class..
                          Three days ago, I got a note from a Vietnamese fellow who I had two years
                          ago. He had moved from the East coast of the US ( where I live) to CA and wanted
                          me to know he is back again. He and his wife are both taking vocational
                          training classes.
                          At least once a week I get a note from a student from last semester, a
                          delightful young, South American woman who is now a hostess in a local restaurant,
                          hoping to return to a career in human resources. She and I share jokes and
                          anecdotes in English. She gives me tips on foreign movies and online Spanish
                          classes.
                          In July I attended a memorial service for the mother of a former student
                          whose native country is Cameroon. Her mother lived in France when she died and my
                          husband and I had dinner with her when we were in France last summer.
                          After every semester, I remain in contact with at least one of my students.
                          This contact enriches my life enormously and they tell me that same is true
                          for them.
                          This is real dogme to me. I can teach grammar in my classes and still be
                          dogmetic if I care about my students lives apart from lesson.

                          Rosemary


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                        • Diarmuid Fogarty
                          I don t know if what Rosemary writes about is real dogme , but it certainly forms part of what dogme is all about. Perhaps it s closer to the truth to write
                          Message 12 of 16 , Sep 2 9:44 AM
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                            I don't know if what Rosemary writes about is "real dogme", but it certainly forms part of what dogme is all about. Perhaps it's closer to the truth to write that such humanism forms the bedrock of dogme, but it's not about teaching grammar+making friends= dogme. Dogme is about working with whatis generated in the classroom, not what is brought in from outside the classroom. *This* is what I would call *real* dogme.

                            As for why teachers feel nervous, I think that we're overlooking one important factor. I don't know about you lot, but one of the reasons I feel nervous is that I am well aware that a substantial number of my students don't want to be learning English and yet I have to occupy their time with just that. They demand it of me (somewhat paradoxically!). In addition, people are usually nervous when they try something for the first time. A lot of what goes on in any dogme class is bound to be new. A third reason may be because teachers tend to have about a million and one balls up in the air at any one moment (each one with a deadline). It can be a very stressful job (or is it just me?).


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                          • midill@aol.com
                            ALL of my students want to be in the class I teach and want to learn English. That is because I teach in the US and they need English for survival and
                            Message 13 of 16 , Sep 2 10:32 AM
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                              ALL of my students want to be in the class I teach and want to learn English.
                              That is because I teach in the US and they need English for survival and
                              advancement. The program I teach ifor turns away students every semester. Of
                              course, not all the students want to work hard to learn English. Some would
                              prefer we could open their mouths and pour it in!!

                              Rosemary


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                            • zosia grudzinska
                              Here s a short report of the first day : with older classes mostly talking about plans for this year, the point of high interest was whether to have tests or
                              Message 14 of 16 , Sep 2 12:08 PM
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                                Here's a short report of "the first day":
                                with older classes mostly talking about plans for this year, the point of
                                high interest was whether to have tests or not and in one group the decision
                                is to introduce take-away tests to be done at home and checked against the
                                answer key provided; this has led to the discussion about the validity of
                                marks. We will continue tomorrow.
                                The "newcomers": the girls wanted to sing and the boys preferred talking.
                                In both cases we ended up with something in writing: with the boys it was a
                                short note about their partner, with the girsl the song lyrics. In both
                                cases, without any provocation on my part, there was a question from the
                                group: "what can we do with these texts?" and my answer "what do you think
                                you could do with them?" led to a spontaneous spate of ideas for "homework".
                                Nothing much. But nice. It wasn't altogether dogme as they are just kids
                                who don't know that students are allowed to make any input; but they do
                                learn quickly!
                                Zosia
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