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Dogme Training Session – Before

February 23, 2012

I have finally got a slot booked to run a teacher training session on Unplugged teaching next week at the British Council where I work. I want to describe what I’m planning to do and hopefully get some comments and suggestions. It would be great to hear from people who have run such workshops before, but also please feel free to comment if you have any thoughts about how it could go differently.

After the event itself, I’m planning to ask a colleague to write a report on what happened, which will hopefully provide some insight on how such a workshop comes across to teachers unfamiliar with Dogme.

Participant profile: 5-10 (hopefully!) extremely experienced teachers, most of whom will not be aware of Dogme ELT.

Aim: to give an overview and an experience of what a Dogme lesson might look like, discuss the principles behind the approach, and give time for teachers to consider how it might be relevant for them and brainstorm some ideas.

Note: I’m planning to base it around a lesson I wrote about recently which you can find here



1. Tell true anecdote about my neighbour who snores and keeps me awake. Ask how I must feel.

2. Ask ‘Ss’ to brainstorm solutions to my situation in pairs

3. Elicit all ideas to board. Back in pairs, Ss rank all ideas from best to worst

4. Pairs mingle and find someone who has the same idea at the top of their list. Feedback and discussion on how they reached their decision

5. Pick one of the popular solutions that involves a conversation (eg me confronting my neighbour), and have Ss write a short dialogue in pairs.

6. Presentation of dialogues

7. Wrap up the demo lesson and have participants write a summary of stages. What happened? (ie Genuine language, Responding to real world stimuli, Here and now (in this case it is my life, but with experience you can improvise these situations based on Ss’ stories), 4 skills, Many interaction patters, logical stages, real life tasks)

8. Discuss language that might have emerged in a group of learners (ie opportunities for language work), and how you might work with it

9. Present a summary of the principles of Dogme

10. Discussion. (Possible areas: other ways to develop the lesson, different types of classes, how to work on language)

11. Participants work together to come up with a similar real-life story that they could use in their class and a set of tasks

So there we have it!


From → Discussion

  1. I have just come across your blog and it is really impressive how you plan on implementing Dogme ELT in the classroom. I do enjoy your lesson of a ‘problem snorer’. Perhaps you could try to Google some solutions to snoring and bring in some images for the classroom for a discussion as well. Try to look at some language related to snoring or sleep as well (e.g. flat out, etc). One last point, you could tell the story as you have mentioned then you could get learners to rewrite the story in their own words (classic dictogloss) which works very well with Dogme. Nevertheless, good staging of the lesson and it would be great to hear how the lesson progressed and whether you deviated from the plan. Best of luck.

    • Thanks Martin

      I love the idea of googling solutions and bringing them in for discussion! In fact, this theme developed into 3 lessons and was really enjoyable. We made dialogues and videoed them, followed by a lesson on phonology and error correction based on those videos. In due course I’ll update it with an account of what happened.

      Thanks for your suggestions and good luck with iatefl!

  2. Hi Oli,

    Have you done your workshop? If so, how did it go? What did the participants have to say?

    I liked your lesson outline (I won’t call it a plan, because we like to stick to our plans, which doesn’t always happen in Dogme…). What about drawing on students’ problems as stimulus? Or would that be too “putting someone on the spot” for some students?

    It’s good because there is a real exchange–you want information on how to deal with the snorer. Plus it puts students in the “teaching” position–they are giving you information instead of the other way around, which I think students enjoy.

    Perhaps something that could be addressed in this training session for teachers is getting over the fear of not having it all mapped out. Of course, this very much depends on the group of learners. I’ve got some that I can trust to take activities and roll with the “feeling-our-way-through” emergence of activities and language, other groups who seem to need a set “here’s-what-we’re going-to-do-today structure” (I may be misjudging about that, but I tried a few dogme moments with that group and it turned into chaos, but I digress…)

    Maybe some things to be addressed could be:
    –feeling comfortable with the apparent (and I emphasize apparent) lack of pre-planning
    –keeping the group engaged when there are less traditional-type instructions
    –picking up on things that can be effectively exploited and honed in on and how best to do it

    I know those issues have no set answer, but isn’t that what this is all about–finding many different paths that lead to your goals and exploring them as they come?

    Best of luck!

    • Thanks for your comment. The session went very well and your comments have reminded me that I need to get it down on (virtual) paper before the details begin to get hazy. The areas to address that you mention all came up in the session.

      In fact, the session was very popular and I got numerous requests to hold another one from people who couldn’t make it first time round. I feel lucky to get another opportunity to run the same session – a chance to hone it down – so what I might try to do is record it and make the video available online.

      Thanks for taking the time to write and watch this space for an account of the session!

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