TDSIG Unplugged Countdown: “One…”

The 4th principle of OST
The 4th Principle of OST

This mini-series sketches out some of the ideas that I would like to explore at the upcoming TDSIG Unplugged Conference in Barcelona on 21 May 2011.  If any of them chime with you and you would like to explore them as well – or if you would like to work on completely different issues, the conference is there to give you the open space to do just that.  It is never too late to join in, so if you haven’t already, visit and register!

Counting down…1…

When will the voice of Dogme ELT fall silent?

Someone cleverer and more widely cited than me once said something like “The goal of teaching should be to make the teacher redundant”.  Behind this are the concepts autonomy, independence and self-direction.  If learners reach a point where there are no more lessons for which they need a teacher, then this has been reached and we – as teaching individuals and as a professional whole – will have served our purpose.

There has also been talk on the Blogosphere about labels like dogme and teaching unplugged if it’s working, we don’t need to give it a label is the point Sharon Hartle adroitly makes.

So what is the purpose of Dogme?  What is its raison d’être  Its genius?  Without knowing this, we cannot know if it is working; if we don’t know that, how will we know when its voice has simply become our own and its names can be forgotten as it answers now to ours?

If it could speak, what would its voice sound like?

Would it sound like this?

It’s not how new your pencil is, it’s how you write your name;

It’s not about the syllabus, it’s not about the aim;

It’s not how many words you know, but what you choose to say;

It’s not the destination, but the detours on the way .

It’s not the flipcharts, whiteboards, smartboards, VLEs or books,

It’s always been the people and the things they say, the looks

they share, and the things they learn that count;

It’s quality, not quantity; it’s richness, not amount.

It’s not about materials, but what you choose to make;

It’s not about the input, it’s the uptake that’s at stake;

It’s not the timings you should count, It’s meaning you should measure;

It’s not about abstention, it’s the Open Space we treasure.

– Dedicated to Diarmuid Fogarty –

When this voice sounds as familiar to me as my own, then maybe I won’t need the terms dogme ELT or Teaching Unplugged anymore.


I would like to thank everyone who has read any of these posts, commented on them, tweeted about them or talked to me about them.  It really means a lot to me.

Tomorrow by the time the final post leaves the launchpad, I will be sitting in a classroom in Spain, waiting for something very special to happen.  What that “something special” turns out to be depends entirely on you, if you choose to come.

So please, come along, and make the TDSIG Unplugged Conference something truly special.


  1. Pingback: TDSIG Unplugged Countdown: “One…” (via Teacher Training Unplugged) | English learning in Our World

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