He started off eliciting the perception of the audience about ‘Dogme’ and then listed what some people have said about it. There was a wide variety of comments; from ‘it doesn’t work for the beginners (non-natives/ advanced/ young learners…etc.)’ to ‘it doesn’t work in Japan’. However, according to Mr. Thornbury, heart of the matter is that; Dogme is a platform, an engine for teacher development since ‘it invites teachers to question some of the received wisdoms about language teaching’.
He stressed his discontent with the idea of reducing teachers’ role into knowledge transfer and someone who is serving and argues that Dogme, as a self-initiated teacher development initiative, can lead to new forms of teacher development ; colloborative networks. He named some blogs including ELT STEW and Unplugged Reflections which illustrated reflections of such collaborative teacher development endeavours.
Finally, in order to make a difference and ‘matter’ (instead of being just a cog in a machine), the following advice from Atul Gawande (A surgeon’s Notes on Better Performance) might be adopted to ELT and these may help all of us;
- Don’t complain
- Ask an unscripted question
- Count something (e.g. class-based research)
- Write something
- CHANGE (not necessarily embracing all new trends but looking for the opportunity to change)
My favourite was the number 5…What do you think?
Asli Saglam for the Team Roving Reporters