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Re: Is dogme just a complement to traditional approaches?

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  • nickbilbrough
    Much of the things that happen in my lessons are planned, but usually in a fairly loose way. I might take in a text of some kind and have a few ideas about how
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 1 3:24 PM
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      Much of the things that happen in my lessons are planned, but
      usually in a fairly loose way. I might take in a text of some kind
      and have a few ideas about how to exploit it or there might be
      something in a coursebook which I think might be useful . Sometimes
      things go in a fairly 'Now I'd like you to do this..' sort of way,
      and sometimes that works out great (and other times it doesn't). I'm
      sure that's true for a lot of people on this list.

      For me dogme is about being prepared to go with what the learners
      throw at you when you feel it's appropriate - to sometimes abandon
      your carefully cut up and pasted materials in order to move into a
      topic or language area that has been generated by one or more of the
      students. Sometimes this can mean that the warm up activity takes an
      hour and a half, or that the article on global warming gets put in
      the recycling bin.

      I agree Rob that dogmetic teaching is student-centred in the real
      sense of the meaning. A lot of teaching is called student centred
      because the students get to talk to each other a lot and because
      they work their way through a series of activities that have been
      facilitated by the teacher. But is this really student centred? I'm
      not saying it's necessarily bad, but I am questioning whether it
      automatically centres around the needs of the students. Actually I
      think that there may well be loads of teacher talk in a truly
      student centred class because the teacher will be responding to and
      scaffolding stuff that the students introduce.

      As a language learner I want to talk to people whose language is at
      a much higher level than mine so that they can pull me up towards
      their level. I want to ask them things about language sometimes and
      I want to hear how they express things, and I also want to feel that
      they are genuinely listening to me and interacting with me. I want
      them to respond when I ask them something and not to say 'this isn't
      what we're doing at the moment'.

      In my teaching dogme does often complement other more traditional
      approaches, but I don't think that this is all that dogme is. I've
      reached a stage in my career where I'm striving to make it much more
      than that. What I want to develop in my teaching now is my ability
      to work appropriately with what students initiate in the lessons.
      I'm not really that interested in discovering new activities for
      students to do because I'm starting to feel that most of the
      learning happens around the activities rather than actually in
      them.

      Nick


      --- In dogme@yahoogroups.com, "Robert M. Haines" <haines@n...> wrote:
      > No, I don't think so. Dogmetic learning is Open Learning, which
      means it relies on and values input from learners and the resources
      they bring to the classroom (both material and innate). Dogmetic
      learning values contructivism, or learner-centeredness, in place of
      behaviorist theory.
      >
      > And, dogmetic learning is social; it's teaching people more than
      teaching language. So, I believe domge is an alternative to
      traditional teaching and learning, not a complement, although it
      certainly can be.
      >
      > Sorry to have to answer my own question about the merits of
      dogme. :-)
      >
      > Rob
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Russell Kent
      ... Russ -- No virus found in this outgoing message. Checked by AVG Anti-Virus. Version: 7.0.323 / Virus Database: 267.8.8/35 - Release Date: 30-6-2005
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 2 1:54 AM
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        nickbilbrough wrote:

        >
        > I'm not really that interested in discovering new activities for
        > students to do because I'm starting to feel that most of the
        > learning happens around the activities rather than actually in
        > them.
        >
        > Isn't there a substantial amount of research that points to language
        > learners acquiring a lot of the languaage that teachers use around the
        > activity? I mean the language used to set up and explain the
        > activity rather than the target language required.


        Russ


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      • MCJ
        ... N S Prabhu mentions his book Second Language Pedagogy that there is, intimately, no way of attributing, with any certainty, any specific piece of
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 2 5:08 AM
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          Russell Kent wrote:
          >
          >
          > nickbilbrough wrote:
          >
          > >
          > > I'm not really that interested in discovering new activities for
          > > students to do because I'm starting to feel that most of the
          > > learning happens around the activities rather than actually in
          > > them.

          N S Prabhu mentions his book "Second Language Pedagogy" that "there is,
          intimately, no way of attributing, with any certainty, any specific
          piece of learning to any specific teaching: language learning can take
          place independently of teaching intentions and it is impossible to tell
          what has been learnt because of some teaching, and what in spite of it"
          (Oxford, 1987: p. 9).

          This very interesting book is available for free download at the OUP
          website. The title may threaten to send you into a coma, but the book is
          fascinating.

          Another of Prabhu's gems is the history of anti-grammar:

          Joseph Webbe (1622) criticising Latin teaching says, "no man can run
          speedily to the mark of language that is shackled and ingiv'd with
          grammar precepts. ... By exercise of reading, writing, and speaking
          after ancient Custom... all things belonging to Grammar will without
          labour, and whether we will or no, thrust themselves upon us."

          Palmer (1921) says "the utilization of [the adult learner's] conscious
          and focused attention [on language] militates against the proper
          function of the natural capacities of assimilation... [in teaching a
          second language] we must design forms of work in which the student's
          attention shall be directed towards the subject matter and away from the
          form in which it is expressed".

          Bloomfield (1914), "our fundamental mistake has been to regard language
          teaching as the imparting of a set of facts... "

          > > Isn't there a substantial amount of research that points to language
          > > learners acquiring a lot of the languaage that teachers use around the
          > > activity? I mean the language used to set up and explain the
          > > activity rather than the target language required.

          I don't know about research proving it, but for quite a long time
          language teachers have suspected this. If anything, it is the
          traditional grammar-rooted methodologies that rest upon theory divorced
          from actual practice, and indeed, severed from the very observation of
          practice.


          Omar
        • MCJ
          ... Rather, there is ultimately* - quick typing and a quicker spell check. All the commas are Prabhu s, and very nice indeed. Omar (who loves commas)
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 2 5:12 AM
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            MCJ wrote:

            > there is
            > *intimately*, no way of attributing, with any certainty, any specific
            > piece of learning to any specific teaching: language learning can take


            Rather, "there is ultimately*

            - quick typing and a quicker spell check. All the commas are Prabhu's,
            and very nice indeed.

            Omar
            (who loves commas)
          • MCJ
            ... Rather, there is ultimately* - quick typing and a quicker spell check. All the commas are Prabhu s, and very nice indeed. Omar (who loves commas
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 2 5:13 AM
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              MCJ wrote:

              > there is
              > *intimately*, no way of attributing, with any certainty, any specific
              > piece of learning to any specific teaching: language learning can take


              Rather, "there is ultimately*

              - quick typing and a quicker spell check. All the commas are Prabhu's,
              and very nice indeed.

              Omar
              (who loves commas
              skillfully scattered)
            • Daniel Tourt
              nickbilbrough wrote: As a language learner I want to talk to people whose language is at a much higher level than mine so that they
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 2 5:42 AM
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                nickbilbrough <nickbilbrough@...> wrote:
                As a language learner I want to talk to people whose language is at
                a much higher level than mine so that they can pull me up towards
                their level. I want to ask them things about language sometimes and
                I want to hear how they express things, and I also want to feel that
                they are genuinely listening to me and interacting with me. I want
                them to respond when I ask them something and not to say 'this isn't
                what we're doing at the moment'.




                Careful, Nick, last time I tried to relate language learning to my own experience I got told off ;-)

                What you seem to be describing is the same sort of thing a lot of us do - i.e. going into a lesson with a type of "Plan B" prepared idea that will hopefully tickle some interest from the students, possibly leading down more relevant (and useful?) language learning (or even just using) avenues, but can still survive in its own right as a lesson should this tickling not take place, or may not indeed be needed should the students come up with an alternative from the outset.

                I read somewhere that the modern teahcer uses "eclectic integration" (as opposed to selection, which suggests exclusion, and seems less flexible). At least for me that's how I SEE Dogme, there to be used and intergrated if I and/or my students fancy it.

                I think many of us did our time with a bit of PPP, or at least following some sort of plan during a lesson, and we now use the knowledge, and even "presentations" from those time to help answer our students' queries during more dogmetised lessons. The question is, is it possible to do decent dogme from the outset as a teacher, or rather, how many of you DOSes (dossers?) out there would encourage a newly CELTA'd teacher to avoid playing safe and cast their Headway into the breeze? Or is there such a thing as learning the ropes?



                Dan



                By the way, Omar, any thoughts on the semi-colon?


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              • djn@dennisnewson.de
                Omar likes commas. Probably out of print, but there is a lovely programmed book: 300 Commas Leonard L. West Ph.D. Gregg Division McGraw-Hill, 1964 CCC No
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 2 6:14 AM
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                  Omar likes commas. Probably out of print, but there is a lovely "programmed" book:

                  300 Commas Leonard L. West Ph.D. Gregg Division McGraw-Hill, 1964
                  CCC No 63-19774

                  Dennis
                • djn@dennisnewson.de
                  I think what Dan and others in this thread are illustrating is that you can t in the real world just work from a purely theoretical - dogme or other -
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 2 6:37 AM
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                    I think what Dan and others in this thread are illustrating is that you can't in the real
                    world just work from a purely theoretical - dogme or other - position. So many other
                    considerations will impinge and prescribe. Where the dogme approach gets star
                    rating, I would suggest, is that it underscores working from and with the language
                    interests and needs of the learners in the room - as long as local cultural attitudes to
                    language learning and the local educational power hierachies, including examination
                    boards, allow it.


                    Dennis
                  • Melanie King
                    Dennis, Nick, Daniel, Rob, Dogme is somehow not an if you fancy it kind of option and Dennis point that you can t just apply dogme like a theory seems to
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 4 1:24 PM
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                      Dennis, Nick, Daniel, Rob,

                      Dogme is somehow not an "if you fancy it" kind of option and Dennis' point
                      that you can't just apply dogme like a theory seems to sum up some of what
                      appears to be a cyclical argument.

                      As Nick suggests dogme is more about authentic (and authenticated?)
                      communication based on learners authentic needs. Personally, I would go
                      further than you Dennis, and say something like:

                      Dogme underscores working from and with the language interests of the
                      learners based on a shared understanding of their present context as
                      experienced individually, privately and publicly.

                      The context, in the approach I am attempting to work with is the social
                      economy in our city. The personal is shaped by the local, national and
                      global contexts - with all their overlap and dissonance, where I and my
                      learners spend 100% of our time. If this scares anyone then think of it as
                      communication with humans in society with shared experiences and needs.

                      If we want authentic communication, then where we choose to start from is
                      key.
                      (And the outcomes may have a different texture though in essence they could
                      be the same.)

                      But we have to be comfortable about that and not afraid of the
                      consequences - as Nick implies, actually being able to hear the other and go
                      where we are being led , at least initially. In that ancient story the
                      world started with chaos and darkness, and together we created the tools to
                      make a shape! (and look where it's got us..!)

                      It occurs to me looking back on some of the more recent discussions in the
                      list how quickly we get caught up in, and out by, dualisms and dichotomies:
                      personality and entertainment, syntax and content, traditional and fun,
                      "good cop and bad cop," and traditional and dogme. Perhaps a dogmetic
                      approach is a way of holding it all together? And when the learners don't
                      approve or appreciate maybe we just have to humour them a little and play
                      through ; and when it all falls flat- well maybe I'm hitting up against my
                      own "fundamental-isms" and need to try something different; or admit that
                      sometimes I'm simply "pale, female and stale!"

                      Having said all of this, I have really valued the different kinds of
                      exercises with which I have been provided by a few good tutors, books and
                      colleagues - They have given me handles to start with when I haven't trusted
                      or had the energy to "let go." Perhaps more than that they have given me
                      some sense of relational distance in working with others on language.
                      Unlike you Nick, I don't have all the
                      tools to make the best of the language opportunities that present
                      themselves.

                      Anyway, start with what is, and search for what you care about...and trust
                      in the darkness!

                      Yours,

                      Mel
                    • nickbilbrough
                      I certainly don t have all the tools Mel. That s why I lurk (and occasionally come out of the darkness) on this list. What I m interested in now is what to do
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 5 2:21 AM
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                        I certainly don't have all the tools Mel. That's why I lurk (and
                        occasionally come out of the darkness) on this list.

                        What I'm interested in now is what to do with language that emerges
                        from student generated stuff in the classroom. There are five things
                        which I do I suppose.

                        1) Nothing - just listen
                        2) Engage in dialogue with the learner to scaffold or reinforce what
                        has been said.
                        3) Board it, check understanding and elicit/generate further
                        examples.
                        4)Do all of 2 and then turn it into some kind of practice activity
                        for the students.
                        5)Nothing at that moment, but either 2 or 3 in the next class. This
                        works best if I've been able to record or make notes on the
                        conversation.

                        I remember a discussion on this list a long time ago about the
                        merits of allowing learners opportunities to notice language items
                        in natural speech lots of times without challenging them to use the
                        language items. Scott's 'Uncovering Grammar' initially 'raised my
                        consciousness' about this issue. This seems to make sense to me but
                        I still can't resist doing option 4 sometimes. I suppose I make a
                        judgement (which may or may not be right) on whether I feel that the
                        langauge items fit in with where their level of langauge is at that
                        moment.

                        What do other people think?

                        Nick


                        --- In dogme@yahoogroups.com, "Melanie King" <melanieking@f...>
                        wrote:
                        > Dennis, Nick, Daniel, Rob,
                        >
                        > Dogme is somehow not an "if you fancy it" kind of option and
                        Dennis' point
                        > that you can't just apply dogme like a theory seems to sum up some
                        of what
                        > appears to be a cyclical argument.
                        >
                        > As Nick suggests dogme is more about authentic (and authenticated?)
                        > communication based on learners authentic needs. Personally, I
                        would go
                        > further than you Dennis, and say something like:
                        >
                        > Dogme underscores working from and with the language interests of
                        the
                        > learners based on a shared understanding of their present context
                        as
                        > experienced individually, privately and publicly.
                        >
                        > The context, in the approach I am attempting to work with is the
                        social
                        > economy in our city. The personal is shaped by the local,
                        national and
                        > global contexts - with all their overlap and dissonance, where I
                        and my
                        > learners spend 100% of our time. If this scares anyone then think
                        of it as
                        > communication with humans in society with shared experiences and
                        needs.
                        >
                        > If we want authentic communication, then where we choose to start
                        from is
                        > key.
                        > (And the outcomes may have a different texture though in essence
                        they could
                        > be the same.)
                        >
                        > But we have to be comfortable about that and not afraid of the
                        > consequences - as Nick implies, actually being able to hear the
                        other and go
                        > where we are being led , at least initially. In that ancient
                        story the
                        > world started with chaos and darkness, and together we created the
                        tools to
                        > make a shape! (and look where it's got us..!)
                        >
                        > It occurs to me looking back on some of the more recent
                        discussions in the
                        > list how quickly we get caught up in, and out by, dualisms and
                        dichotomies:
                        > personality and entertainment, syntax and content, traditional and
                        fun,
                        > "good cop and bad cop," and traditional and dogme. Perhaps a
                        dogmetic
                        > approach is a way of holding it all together? And when the
                        learners don't
                        > approve or appreciate maybe we just have to humour them a little
                        and play
                        > through ; and when it all falls flat- well maybe I'm hitting up
                        against my
                        > own "fundamental-isms" and need to try something different; or
                        admit that
                        > sometimes I'm simply "pale, female and stale!"
                        >
                        > Having said all of this, I have really valued the different kinds
                        of
                        > exercises with which I have been provided by a few good tutors,
                        books and
                        > colleagues - They have given me handles to start with when I
                        haven't trusted
                        > or had the energy to "let go." Perhaps more than that they have
                        given me
                        > some sense of relational distance in working with others on
                        language.
                        > Unlike you Nick, I don't have all the
                        > tools to make the best of the language opportunities that present
                        > themselves.
                        >
                        > Anyway, start with what is, and search for what you care
                        about...and trust
                        > in the darkness!
                        >
                        > Yours,
                        >
                        > Mel
                      • djn@dennisnewson.de
                        Nick, A general thing that I think is that knowing when to listen and when and how to intervene are part of the art of teaching - and counselling. In therapy,
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 5 3:39 AM
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                          Nick,

                          A general thing that I think is that knowing when to listen and when and how to
                          intervene are part of the art of teaching - and counselling. In therapy, if not teaching,
                          the silence, the not-intervening can be extremely powerful, because the person being
                          therapised (There is a word for that! therapand??) fills the gap, the silence produces
                          a strong reaction and meaningful talk is produced.

                          I always wonder (You can tell how long I've been on this list: I dare to wonder) ... how
                          effective this noticing is. It sounds so lke the teacher reassuring him/herself that
                          something has been "done". Do learners learn anything from it? I don't know.

                          Alongside dogme I feel sympathetic towards Krashen's understandable input
                          hypothesis. I reckon learning takes place in strange and mysterious ways that none of
                          us know about.

                          Dennis
                        • MCJ
                          ... They learn very little from it, if anything. We do not actively notice grammatical features, rather we notice successful communication - and most learners
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jul 5 4:00 AM
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                            djn@... wrote:

                            > I always wonder (You can tell how long I've been on this list: I dare to
                            > wonder) ... how
                            > effective this noticing is. It sounds so lke the teacher reassuring
                            > him/herself that
                            > something has been "done". Do learners learn anything from it? I don't know.

                            They learn very little from it, if anything. We do not actively notice
                            grammatical features, rather we notice successful communication - and
                            most learners set the bar pretty low.

                            I speak from personal experience. It is unscientific and subjective, but
                            where has science gotten us in this field?

                            I once stopped a friend as he was speaking to me in Arabic to ask him
                            what the word "osta" meant. He was astonished. He said, "You've been
                            speaking Arabic for at least ten years, and you've heard it hundreds of
                            times. What kind of question is this?" You do need a thick skin to learn
                            Arabic. After berating me, he did tell me what it meant. Afterwards, I
                            must have heard it at least ten more times that day.

                            What you don't know, you don't hear. So much for noticing.

                            Omar
                          • djn@dennisnewson.de
                            Omar, What I find instructive about your anecdote is that it was you who had decided that it was time to find out what a certain word meant. You set the pace
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jul 5 4:36 AM
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                              Omar,

                              What I find instructive about your anecdote is that it was you who had decided that it
                              was time to find out what a certain word meant. You set the pace and asked the
                              question and thereafter noticed it 10 times. I have definitely had similar experiences
                              here. Certain words I have heard used for years, but never been able to pick up from
                              context what they mean. Then, unaccountably, one day I ask.

                              Dennis
                            • MCJ
                              ... Yes. That s true, and I ll never forget what it means either. But it did take me ten years to ask, and I think that was because I had never before really
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jul 5 5:31 AM
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                                djn@... wrote:
                                > Omar,
                                >
                                > What I find instructive about your anecdote is that it was you who had
                                > decided that it
                                > was time to find out what a certain word meant. You set the pace and
                                > asked the
                                > question and thereafter noticed it 10 times. I have definitely had
                                > similar experiences
                                > here. Certain words I have heard used for years, but never been able to
                                > pick up from
                                > context what they mean. Then, unaccountably, one day I ask.

                                Yes. That's true, and I'll never forget what it means either. But it did
                                take me ten years to ask, and I think that was because I had never
                                before really needed to know what it meant. It is, again, a matter of
                                communicative success, or the lack of it.

                                Dogme attracts me because it is student-conscious and honest about what
                                a teacher is, about what a teacher really *can* and can't do. I don't
                                believe in methodologies and I think that if there was any science here
                                we would have known about it long before this. What we have are fashion
                                and trend.

                                The no materials stricture is useful in so far as it forces us, as
                                teachers, to reflect more on what we are doing, to be more creative in
                                our practice. It empowers us so that we can cut ourselves free of the
                                books we so readily bind ourselves to, from fear, from fatigue, and from
                                sloth.

                                I've been reading an old book on CALL by Alessi and Trollip
                                (Computer-Based Instruction: Methods and Development, Prentice Hall,
                                1985). Twenty years ago computers are not what they are today and so
                                technology did not overwhelm method.

                                In their chapter on tutorials the authors list "instructional factors"
                                that are relevant to this kind of instruction:

                                introduction
                                student control
                                motivation
                                presentation
                                questions and responses
                                judgment of responses
                                feedback about responses
                                remediation
                                sequencing of lesson segments
                                closing of the tutorial

                                I read this and thought, this is really what I try to do in class - with
                                varying degrees of success.

                                To return to the original question about what one does with emergent
                                language, I think I generally slide this into judgment of responses,
                                feedback about responses, and remediation.

                                Not every bit of emergent language needs to be delt with in this way.
                                But if your students all speak the same L1 you can easily discern
                                patterns of error that you will do need to slog away at very diligently.

                                Our big problem is the present simple tense, particularly with the verb
                                "to be". Arabic has no copula and Arabic sentences do quite happily, and
                                frequently, scamper about verbless.

                                Judgment of language is the crucial point, and how you do this will
                                depend upon who your students are and how much intervention they are
                                willing to tolerate: this takes us back to student control and motivation.

                                Omar
                              • Adrian Tennant
                                ... I disagree, because I think one can *try* and notice, one can train oneself to *look* and then to notice and one can have ones attention drawn to something
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jul 10 1:40 PM
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                                  Omar wrote:

                                  > What you don't know, you don't hear. So much for noticing.

                                  I disagree, because I think one can *try* and notice, one can train
                                  oneself to *look* and then to notice and one can have ones attention drawn
                                  to something and from there notice.

                                  Dr Evil



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