A site to share and exchange ideas about English – teaching or enjoying it.

I’ve just taken part in a fast-moving, thought-provoking Twitter chat about Dogme. Wow! My head is spinning and I have to let it out.

I was very curious about Dogme, and it all seemed a bit of a gray area to me, but it’s dawned on me now I’ve been doing bits of it all my teaching life! I don’t mean teaching Dogme-oriented, but I’ve had “Dogme moments”, as was said in the chat, all the time. And to be honest, they were ALWAYS the highlights of the lesson.

I may not agree with the whole Dogme phylosophy, or ideas, but I must acknowledge it has its merits, especially when it comes to involving students and making them more responsible for their learning. Fact is, when you want to learn something, the actual learning happens in a stronger and more meaningful way. It empowers students. And this may be the secret for better learning. And better teaching!

However, I don’t believe everyone is a natural-born Dogme teacher. You need a certain degree of ‘malice’ in the trade to be able to identify and later capitalize on opportunities that appear during a lesson. This comes with time, dedication and involvement with the profession. I don’t mean novice teachers are at a disadvantage, for we all know lots of experienced teachers are extremely resistant to change and in many cases need more training than freshly graduated teachers.

All in all, I’ve made friends with Dogme now, and plan to get to know it better. Read a lot, chat more, listen, observe, listen, discuss, listen, exchange ideas, listen… Can’t promise to be 100% in favour of it, but won’t want to decapitate it either. Just let’s see what it has to offer to make learning better, more effective and enjoyable.

For those who still don’t know much about it – like myself -, I suggest reading the following:

http://www.thornburyscott.com/tu/portal.htm – the ‘father’ of Dogme







You’ll have more than enough to have your own opinion after that. Personally speaking, this chat today really got me thinking about our priorities. Should we teach grammar? Vocabulary? What should we teach, and how? The first conclusion I have is that teaching ought to be more student-centred, and the question then is ‘how to do it?’. Food for thought. It depends on a handful of variables, and that’s not up to me now. Too early to express a strong opinion.

To finish off, still fully inspired, I found the quotations below about teaching and teachers, which are, in my opinion, very much in keeping with the Dogme discussion. My favourite is this:

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William Arthur Ward


Quotes for Teachers – These quotes were written for and about teachers and education.

“Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater. ” ~Gail Godwin

“If you would thoroughly know anything, teach it to others. ” ~Tryon Edwards

“A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron.” ~Horace Mann

“Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of man….” ~Horace Mann

“A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.” ~Patricia Neal

“A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” ~Thomas Carruthers

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think. ~Socrates

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” ~Mark Van Doren

“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it. ” ~Samuel Johnson

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” ~Carl Rogers

source: http://712educators.about.com/od/teacherresources/a/teachingquotes.htm


Comments on: "Some Dogme-inspired thoughts." (11)

  1. Thanks for this great summary of our Twitter #breltchat, Bete… very useful resource for those interested!

    Have a great weekend (starting Friday, right?)


  2. Mariana said:

    Like you, I do not agree with everything that is stated by Dogma. But I also agree that we’ve been doing bits of it (unconsciously) already. The real challenge would be keeping up with that on a daily basis.

  3. Mila Navarro said:

    A great summary, well done. Just like yours, my head is still spinning after last night’s chat. Pleanty of food for thought. Can’t wait for the next one.

  4. Graeme, Mariana and Mila,
    Thanks for your comments.
    Well, #breltchat was the kick off this week for another thread of thought. Dogme is thought provoking and does rock all boats, but as I see it that’s good – we need a good shake every now and again so as to take a stand in life with a firmer grip.
    As Mariana pointed out, not all in this method pleases me, but I’m ok with a little bit here and there. Maybe I need more time, maybe I can’t do it fully. Only time and more information will tell.

  5. Great post – Bete, sharing it on eltchat.com

  6. Really inspired – and inspiring – post this one you wrote, Bete. It makes me think about the awful lot of things I still need to learn, to be aware of, to develop… It’s unbelievably long the road I see ahead. Teaching is learning, I guess…

    • Dear Alba,
      teaching is indeed learning non-stop and that’s what I intend to keep doing. And learning is sharing. Thanks for your comment.
      Take care,

  7. […] Some Dogme-Inspired Thoughts by Bete Thess (written after #BRELTchat) You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Tags: Dogme, interviews, Teaching Methods […]

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