TESOL France: Christina Rebuffet-Broadus on how Dogme is perceived through students’ eyes

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Christina’s presentation incorporated feedback from 25 students who had followed a one-semester course of dogme classes as part of classroom-based research. Students were surveyed about their willingness to take part in their teachers’ professional development, and after a first day’s dogme class, were asked to give their initial impressions of the approach. They were also given a mid and end of course questionnaire. We were all given a copy of the students’ responses at the 3 stages of the research project at the end of the presentation.
Characteristics of a dogme driven lesson / course approach, involve zero pedagogic materials (although an object as a stimulus is fine), and zero or no pre-planning (which would happen later with the students). Christina gave a useful and informative brief demonstration of a dogme class with 4 volunteers from the audience. An initial focus involved the ‘students’ being invited to talk about where they have been in Paris (in pairs and cross-pair work). Participants we invited to note emergent language and suggest what might be a useful area of focus. ‘Students’ then continued using the language in paired role-plays and a group discussion. A very nice touch!
Christina added some words of wisdom: she suggested that teachers might be tempted to be prescriptive, that is draw (pre-determined) grammar out of task language, rather than remain open to language that actually emerges naturally. She advised us not to go with a first or initial reflex, rather, we should make notes and develop the ability to be good listeners.
Finally, Christina indicated how reflection and post-class record-keeping can help us ensure that our dogme classes don’t constitute a ‘series of one offs’, and, included as part of her handout, were helpful examples of record-sheets on which might base our post-hoc observations. There were also record-sheets for students. We left the session with a clear idea of what a dogme class might be and feel like, how learners have responded to the approach, an a selection of ideas for dogme classes, and a feeling that (if you’ve not already done so) this is definitely an approach worth putting into action. For more information go to http://ilovetefl.wordpress.com

Comments

Hi Mark & Annie, Just came across this today--thanks for the write-up of my talk (especially the kind words). I hope you got some interesting ideas from the talk and some practical things to use in the classroom. Many thanks and see you at IATEFL!
Annie McDonald's picture

Hi Christina, I enjoyed your talk very much - it was extremely informative to have the opportunity to see a real-life example of a dogme class emerge before my very eyes. So, thank you, and yep, see you at IATEFL.

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