How Dogme Are We?

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Here’s something our trainees made earlier…

We have been very excited by the fact that several readers have come to see what we have been doing on our courses, but we are a little concerned that, at some point, after we have described what we are doing and what our trainees end up doing in their lessons, some of you might turn round and say “What?  That’s it?! That’s not Dogme?

We were worried about this for a few different reasons:

  • Firstly, while we are very excited about what we are doing and about how many benefits and challenges it is bringing us, this does not mean that it is anything ground-breaking for the world in general.  Perhaps we are simply reinventing a wheel already familiar to many of you.
  • Secondly, we were worried about how we were presenting our developments and ideas.  Could we be presenting an inflated sense of what was actually going on?
  • Finally, we were worried that our understanding of what we are doing and how it relates to Dogme would not be shared by visitors.

So we have decided to try to state clearly what relationship we see between Dogme and what we are doing on our courses these days.

Our view of Dogme

For us, the core interest in Dogme is in its capacity to place learners and their teacher in a simple, unobstructed relationship.  Simple here means with as few components as necessary to achieve a working relationship, and unobstructed here means with no elements which may impede effective work together.

We believe that lessons which involve direct communication between teacher and learners about topics and issues which are of direct human relevance to them without unnecessary mediation through other media are more satisfying and effective lessons for both teachers and learners.  We believe that these lessons succeed because they allow more space for each participant to be come a true contributor, rather than a task processor.

We base this belief on a purely subjective evaluation of the 500 or so lessons we observe each year by both beginning teachers on initial training courses and by experienced teachers as part of routine observation.

In our next post we will describe our attitude towards coursebooks.

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