Monday, January 25, 2010

Would you like to come over for some Dogme ELT? Maybe you could ask me about disappearing sounds after?

Monday Foreign Communication

Today's lesson followed Friday's plan. We started with review, and then I dictated some questions. After looking at their answers we practiced the conversation and then the key expressions together. Next, we did task 2, a fill-in-the-blank task, which I had them practice in pairs afterward. Once finished, we did the conversation construction activity. After that, we moved on to Part B of disappearing sounds, which asked them to find the linking sounds. While they were working I wrote the sentences on the board and then had them come up to write in the answers, again making sure beforehand that their answers were OK. I finally had the students repeat after me first slowly with all sounds present and unlinked and then more quickly including all disappearing and linking sounds.

A hint of Dogmeism at the end of the tunnel

I think I had my first Dogme idea in class today (I should mention that I may have had ideas in the past, but at that time I had not known what Dogme ELT was, or wasn’t really thinking about it.). Today’s unit focused on inviting, making excuses, reasons for not going and finally making plans. I was going through the unit when it occurred to me that perhaps instead of having the students go through the expressions in the book, maybe I should have them first think of ways to invite someone, and make excuses for not being able to go. Now, I am not exactly sure where I was in the unit, but unfortunately, I did not try this out, and I think the main reason was that it was not part of the lesson, it would have been spontaneous, and since I had certain things to get done, I did not want to jeopardize that. I know that I may have missed a good opportunity to try something new here, but on the bright side, I think I may have something to try in the future, especially if I go with this book again, and if I am worried that such an activity may take up too much class time, I can always assign some of the book for homework. What do you think? Was this a Dogme moment?

After class

As I was cleaning the board, one of my students asked me a great question. One of the examples that was a tag question, went as follows:

John and Mary are coming, aren’t they?

Now, in class I did not mention that the ‘g’ could disappear, I am not sure why, but maybe it had slipped my mind, although since today was the sixth time to use this handout because this activity took two classes to finish, and I used it in three classes, I am really not sure how it could have slipped my mind, or why no one had mentioned it until now, but anyway, she asked me if in fact the ‘g’ could disappear, which I answered yes, but added that it was less common than say the ‘d’ disappearing from the word ‘and’. However, I am thinking that I probably should not have said that because perhaps the disappearing ‘g’ is in fact just as common as the other disappearing sounds, although personally, I would probably omit the ‘d’ from ‘and’ or the ‘t’ from ‘right’ for example more often than I would omit the ‘g’ from ‘talking’ or ‘studying’. Anyway, I am getting away from the point I am trying to make, but what I am trying to say is that I wish my students would come out more and ask questions during class and not wait until the end of class, although I do appreciate questions at any time because it shows me that they are interested, curious and active in their learning. I know it must be hard when there are 30 or 40 people in the class, but it would be nice to be asked questions more often. Unfortunately, from my experience, most students tend not to do so, and despite me asking them explicitly to ask questions when they don’t know or understand something, they hesitate. I am sure I am not the only one who has experienced such a class, but how have you dealt with this?


  1. Wow - you blog a lot, have missed quite a few posts.

    UM... re your missed dogme moment, shame, let go - not doing something out of the book won't hurt your students, (the reverse) ze book is a guide, Obi Wan, the journey is what's important not the stops along the way :-)

    Your idea was brilliant for "real practice" - don't lose it, use it in the next lesson (at the very end of the day at least you're verifying whether or not they picked up the target language from the book, right)

    Regarding getting students to ask questions during class - stop and pause at intervals and simply don't say anything at all... wait, wait, pick on a student who has asked a question in the past and say "Beth, what would you like to ask me?" Wait... wait... "Alex?"

    someone will speak up :-)