Tomorrow morning (Saturday, May 4), I’m attending a local teachers’ event at the Active Language centre in Cádiz. The event is run by TEFL del Sur. It’s a relatively young association. It was set up in 2011 and is spear-headed by the ever enthusiatic and energetic Teresa Bestwick. It offers professional development and support to teachers in the Cádiz bay area and beyond. It’s fun, it’s vibrant and it’s Saturday morning events are always well-attended with free beers at the end to keep the conversations rolling.
Tomorrow I’m leading a session called Dogme: what’s it all about? I say leading, but I should say facilitating, or opening, or kicking off, I guess. Until it happens I don’t think I’ll know which verb is most appropriate because for this session I’m taking a (the?) vow of chastity. I’m not preparing an outline, there will be no slideshow, and obviously, no handouts! To be purely dogme, of course, there should be no pre-set agenda. The topics of conversation should come from the people in the room, not pre-ordained, so by giving the session a title I’m already straying from the straight and narrow. I guess the fact that the session has a name and poses a question is already straying off the straight and narrow. And I must admit I have chosen a simple task to kick off. As I can’t be sure that everyone in the room will already be familiar with dogme then I can’t start with Scott Thornbury‘s “write a definition” task, so instead I’m going to ask teachers to write a few questions they’d like to ask/air about dogme. And then we’ll take it from there. As Active is a connected school, we’ll have access to a projector and wifi, so, if needs be, our conversations can also develop beyond the four walls.
So, no preparation, well, apart from the silent conversations I’ve been having with myself as I cook dinner or wash the dishes, and the thoughts that are running through my mind as I write this post. But I know that the joint knowledge, experience and curiosity of the people in the room will easily be enough to fill an hour with conversation and comment. Oh, and yes, I must admit I have stolen a page from Luke Meddings and Burcu Akyol‘s book, or more specifically the session they both lead at IATEFL in Liverpool this year, and I’ve prepared a scoop.it page with links to videos and articles about the origins and birth of the dogme approach/movement which might be useful as a starting point for those people who want to know more.
We’ll be taking notes during the session and I’ll be back to describe what questions were asked and what answers were offered. In the meantime, if you’re reading this before Saturday morning (or after in fact!), and you’ve got a moment, could you let me know what questions you’d ask? Thanks 🙂
To close, here’s a clip from an early TEFL del Sur event, just to give you a taste of the great atmosphere. Thanks go to Steve O for the video 🙂
Sounds good! And, it looks like a great association. Have fun!
Thanks, Carol 🙂
Having somthing local is so great!
Good luck tomorrow and go with your instincts – it will be fascinating for all!
Thanks, Naomi 🙂
Sounds great! Wish I could be there. As I write this you’re probably in full flow. Looking forward to hearing all about it. See you in Barcelona in June.
Outstanding! Thanks for the scoopit link — hope you’ve been having fun. I’m just getting my head around Dogme (mostly the reactions for and against it) lately, and your resources will help a lot. So relieved to see Scott say ‘really it’s just putting a label on what everyone thinks of as ‘good teaching’ in a popular video response to an #Eltchat a couple of years ago…
Hi Tom – glad they’re of use!
I’m really encouraged by your decision to do your workshop Dogme style! I recently did a similar thing at BALEAP on Dogme and EAP and I decided I really had to practise what I ‘preach’ so went for it too! I relate to the ‘silent conversations’ you had with yourself; I tried to envisage where the workshop could go and be prepared rather than planned. It was materials-light (only a few slides with some Dogme principles for discussion), conversation-driven (a lot of chatting and pair/group discussion) and the emerging language bit was emerging ideas. I got a real buzz out of it and a lot of food-for-thought too! I’d be really interested to find out what ’emerged’ from your session and what paths it took. Looking forward to reading your post-workshop reflections! I will be writing up my reflections soon too so I’d love your thoughts.
Hi Emma, thanks for the comment. I needed someone to galvanise me into writing the follow-up post! It sounds as if our sessions may have been very similar. No surprise really 🙂 Anyway, I’ll get on with writing my post and then we can compare experiences and outcomes.
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