Recently, I saw a tweet from Alexander Guzik on twitter, announcing to the world that she had done her very first Dogme lesson,
I retweeted and then asked if she would like to contribute to my blog and share her experiences. And here it is. My very first guest blog, and hopefully the first of many. Thank you Alex and I hope the question at the bottom of you post gets answered.
She asked if it was Dogme or my first fifteen-minute Dogme-like experience.
For the last eight months I have seen Dogme as something mysteriously wonderful. Twitter buzzing with discussions of teaching unplugged, all the amazing blog posts and natural curiosity made me eager if not to dive in with the method, but to try how it might have worked with my students. Actually I dream to get my head round it, hence I am a proud owner of the book ‘Teaching Unplugged’, which, to my shame, I have never happen to read attentively enough to acquire the knowledge and embark on a new way of teaching. I am also terrified to do Dogme as first of all I am not a native speaker and secondly it is my first year of teaching after CELTA. However, gradually I am coming to the moment of being ripe for a full-length unplugged lesson. My first step was done – fifteen minutes conversation driven.
That had to be a typical planned lesson with my intermediate students. But only three of eight turned up. The absent five were ill, away on holiday or were kept longer at school (I work in private sector). So I ran out of my plan much earlier. That was the moment of no hesitation. I had no backup, but a great wish to do (try to do) Dogme.
We had a silent conversation about weekends past and coming, in which a few mistakes were made.
I opted for the silent work for a couple of reasons: one of the students is a timid girl and she feels more confident when writing, and it is much easier to obtain a good example of students’ errors when having a script. And in case Dogme didn’t work, I could use the conversation the next lesson.
In five minutes, the conversation was over and I picked out a mistake – Indirect speech (I believe grammar might work much better than vocabulary for non-native teachers when Dogme)!
I copied the sentence ‘Our teachers said if we want money we should work at weekends.’ We remembered the rules of reported speech and corrected the sentence. I wrote ‘My mum said “I made sandwiches for dinner.”’ Students converted the sentence in reported speech. Then I asked them to remember who told them what before the lesson. Then they swapped their sentences and transformed them into indirect speech. There it came to the word order when transforming questions. We practiced more in reporting questions, picking real questions they have been asked recently. We had a short discussion mostly about school. The students are having exams in May and the only thing that occupies their minds is school, teachers and tests. That was the end of the lesson.
As homework I asked them to write a report of a lesson where reported speech was unavoidable to be used. In a while I would like to make a video where the students as pretend journalists would report on their interview with somebody (not sure who, time will show)
Right after the lesson I asked myself if it was Dogme. So, is it?