My WorldI wrote the countries from where the students were from on the board:
Kazhakstan, Switzerland, Portugal, Angola, Iraq, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Poland and France. In different nationality groups, I asked the students to find out a few things about each others' countries. After about 10 minutes, I asked them to change groups in order to find out about the other students' countries. The room was buzzing with the sound of students all talking animatedly and enthusiastically. They really wanted to find out about each other and when I asked them to stop, they continued speaking.
Me to Them
I wrote up 5 things to do with me in a circle on the board . Eg phrasal verbs, Dogme, dogs, motorbikes, perfume bottles.
I quickly asked the students to guess the connection to me and my life.
- I love teaching phrasal verbs.
- I was teaching the Dogme way as an experiment
- I don't really like dogs but I have 3
- I don't really like motorbikes and yet I have ridden about 7,000 kilometres on the back of them
- I like collecting perfume bottles
Student Feedback and Involvement
For homework I asked the students to write for 5 minutes about how they felt about this particular lesson. Did they enjoy it? Did they feel bored? etc. I was delighted to find out that all of them wrote positively about the experience. So what was it that was different from a normal lesson? The only difference was not going to class with anything. The 2 simple ideas I had were in my head. The rest came straight from the students themselves. The vocabulary they wanted to know were written up on the board. as it cropped up. Nothing was pre-planned. The language all came up spontaneously. It related to a real-time need-to-know basis. As far as I could see, everyone in the class was engaged in the activity. There was a genuine interest in finding out more information about the different countries.
What did I learn?
Well, I realised that I have in fact been teaching the Dogme way without ever having called it by this particular name. The lesson was a series of opportunities to communicate without any pieces of paper or a coursebook. The main flow came from the students themselves. I was just a floating facilitator. I could easily have left the classroom and the flow would have continued. I am sure. Would it have been the same if I had left the class to get on with some grammar exercises?? I am not so sure!
Yes, I will most certainly do this again. The amount of vocabulary that came out spontaneously was a lot. New words were written up on the board and recycled. My students liked talking about each others countries, about each others thoughts on various topics. Each student was given the chance to explain open class some of the ideas which had come up. A lot of noise,but something positive came out of it. Luckily, I am not constrained by a coursebook, so I could literally throw them away if I wanted to, and use my own materials. This is a great feeling of freedom. Maybe not all teachers have this luxury.
Please refer to this previous posting here for more on Dogme.