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EFL Writing Experiments, Part 4 – DOGME – tic Demand High ELT

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Dogmetic? Demand High ELTish?

To reference trending topics and blogs I’ve been reading over the past few days, while it all feels like common sense to me, it’s possible others might describe what I’m doing as the near-perfect blend of Demand High ELT and Dogme LT, suggested at the end of one of the last #ELTchat summaries before this blog’s birth. It’s also possible these same people might call it complete crap as I’ve yet to meet any of them Wink To reiterate, my goal is to get these students writing in expanding English using the technologies that they favor in their daily lives.

(update – my take on what’s dogmetic or DH-ELTish is in the comments; had wanted readers to do that inferring work…)

Just some quick visuals – the project is described in the first 3 posts in the series, here, here, and here:

Today we brought back the function of describing people and things from weeks 2 and 3 of the class. I’d read their fairy tales on the blog, and was quite pleased in general with the sequencing and past tense, but noticed they were pretty bare bones. So — a perfect opportunity to spend 30 or 40 minutes thinking about how to describe things like frogs, castles, magic carpets, witches and princesses. I told them what I wanted them to do (write a sentence or two describing every character, location, and important object), and told them I wanted their stories updated as new posts on the blog by Friday. I was amazed at the smiles that appeared as they caught on to my instructions: goshdarnit they are enJOYing this almost as much as I am!

I handed-out the dominoes again, spent the rest of the session bouncing between groups (scaffolding, eliciting, pointing, peer-referencing but rarely answering) as my name was called, maximizing L2, and staying out of the way. The pics below are of all 4 groups’ technologies in play: Everyone was engaged with phones and laptops (working a variety of dictionaries, blog posts, and Twitter feeds, paper, pens, sketch pads, and the dominoes. 

Regardless, doing it this way, “it’s bigger on the inside.”

EFL Writing Experiments, Part 4 – DOGME – tic Demand High ELT

Comments (2)

  1. Hi Tom,
    Very common sense if your students have the technology – sounds just like my kind of lesson and similar to one I shared yesterday in its use of whatever tech is ‘handy’.
    Am interested in hearing how you made it Demand High though, since that doesn’t come out of your post and those dominoes don’t sound very Dogme (not that that’s a criticism).
    But I hope your title and tags brought you a few new readers like myself anyhow ;).

    • Hi Neil,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, slight snark and all 😉 The post itself is intentionally DH, as I was hoping readers would infer the dogmatic and (possibly) DHish elements. So here they are, in my opinion, and, (not trying to drag you back here), I would really like to know to what extent you dis/agree.

      DH: the fact I didn’t let learners leave their simple stories be, but demanded that they search themselves and their resources and their prior learning to develop into something better, that previously they did not know was achievable.

      BOTH: I actually didn’t conceive the day’s plan until I’d read what they considered ‘publishable’, AND a bunch of posts and texts via Iatefl about DH (which, as you said, just sounds like good teaching to me).

      DOGME: Like I said, I haven’t read the books, but as far as I understand: the class is unplugged from the textbook, and my syllabus for the course had only ‘personal intro’, ‘description’ and ‘narrative’ penciled in after the first hour (described in the first ‘Experiments’ post) because those needs appeared via their initial tweets. Also, while haven’t gotten around to recording any of it yet, the entire classroom conversation is exactly that, a conversation, with occasional bits of pronunciation and interactive boardwork as need arises, but even that is pretty dialogic. That said, I don’t know where the Dogme camp stands on L1 use, as I decided to insist only on English-only writing, given the focus of this required course. Anybody want to chime in?

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