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Lesson 1 – Get to know…me

September 1, 2011

Here it is, lesson 1.

First lesson with a new group, 3 hour class. I followed a procedure inspired by one of Scott Thornbury’s forum posts.

Ss find out about each other in pairs then report back to the class on each other. Some feedback on language.

Ss make small groups and decide on questions to ask me. Once they’re agreed on the wording of a question they write them on slips of paper. They hand them to me as they’re finished and I write an answer on the slip and return it to them. They write further questions about anything they want to know, questions are sent back for repair if incorrect, and so it goes.

Ss then regroup and report to each other on what they’ve learnt about me. Follow up with an open class discussion about me and answer further questions (Ss are fascinated by their teacher).


Write up a summary on one half of the board, correcting and reformulating as necessary.

Ss work in pairs to translate the summary into Japanese, trying to convey nuances of meaning as closely as possible. Pairs check together and refine.

Mask the board. Ss in pairs translate their Japanese version back into English. Pairs check together, make alterations as they see fit, and write a negotiated final version up on the board.

Finally, reveal the original and hold class discussion on the differences, highlighting language patterns and other interesting items as appropriate.

It worked very well, no outside materials, and learners were thoroughly engaged throughout. They were fascinated by the translation exercise, which, if you pitch your reformulated version properly at i+1, really shows them the gap between their interlanguage and the real thing.

We all know each other now, and that’ll have great backwash in future lessons. Conversation driven, bucket loads of emergent language.

  1. Luke Meddings permalink

    Just come here via the yahoo list Oli – great stuff. Dogme = lessons based on the lives and language of the learners. Teacher is also a learner. So – yes, it’s dogme!

    • Hi Luke,

      Thanks for the comment and for taking the time to read. I’ve been very happy to receive feedback on this blog and it’s great to see people such as yourself really taking the time to engage with people working in fairly isolated environments.

      It makes a real difference to get this kind of feedback and undoubtedly makes a large contribution to the methodology as an evolving force.

      Of course, this is nothing new to you! But it’s nice to be a part of it!

      Regards from Tokyo


  2. Chris permalink

    Which of Scott Thornbury’s posts inspired you? Do you remember what “feedback on language” you provided? Or how you provided it?

    • Hi Chris

      Have a look at Thornbury’s blog for a good summary – it would be very difficult to mention any specific posts since there are so many:

      As regards ‘feedback on language’, it is an admittedly very general term that applies to (as Cambridge puts it) ‘responding to learners’ emerging language needs’.

      Dogme is ‘conversation driven’ and the language content of the lessons themselves based on ’emergent language’.

      This means that feedback you give learners could be described as giving them ‘what they need, in order to express what they want to say’.

      If this seems a little woolly, a couple of principles can help. Firstly, Krashens ‘input hypothesis’ or ‘i+1’:

      If ‘i’ represents current ability and knowledge, the +1 represents new knowledge or language structures that learners should be ready to acquire (Wikipedia).

      So, giving learners a little extra language than they already know.

      Your second question on ‘how to do it’ is complex, as people do it in many different ways.

      A guiding principle that helps me is:

      If the lesson is in a ‘meaning’ focused stage, verbal input/correction/reformulation from the teacher is suitable. Conversely, if you’re in a ‘form’ focused part of the lesson, language should be put on the board, patterns examined (see my board snaps for an example) and possibly drilled.

      A Dogme lesson might then move on to some exercises based on this new language.

      Hope this helps


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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Lesson One: Thanks Oli and Luke! « iloveTEFL
  2. Dogme Cookbook « An Experiment with Dogme

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