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Dogme ELT
by Małgorzata Bryndal
- 8

Post Lesson Evaluation

Strengths

  • I feel positive that the aims of my lessons were achieved. By the end of the lesson the students practised emergent language in a variety of speaking activities.
  • They have particularly enjoyed the practical, real-life activities. They used a variety of available resources in the library, including the Internet, yellow pages, and even library enquiries desk. In the end the activity seemed to have turned into something of a competitive race administered by the students themselves, to see who could find their information first.
  • They also liked the fact that during the feedback stage at the end of the lesson, I have praised them for the good language use and there was less emphasis on error correction than usual, which made them feel comfortable. Staging the feedback activity at the end of the session also helped the uninterrupted flow of all the interactive speaking activities.

Weaknesses:

  • The opening T anecdote could have been more humorous to better stimulate the SS.
  • The preparation activities for the role play (stage 4 and beginning of stage 5) took too long. Although the execution of the role plays was given sufficient time, I was left short of time to conduct a more comprehensive feedback at the end of the lesson. I could have managed these stages more effectively, by spending less time on preparation, and allowing myself more time for praise and error correction at the end of the lesson. I would have also liked to ask a few pairs of SS to act out their role plays, instead of just asking them a few questions about their conversations.
  • I neglected drilling pronunciation. I could have used stronger SS to model pronunciation, thereby making it SS-centred.
  • I didn’t feel there was enough peer correction, the SS still wanted to rely on me as the arbitrator of their correctness. This indicates that I should include more confidence and learner-autonomy building activities in my lessons.

Experiment results:

  • The replies on SS questionnaires indicated that they enjoyed this class more than traditional handout-based lessons. Almost everyone commented positively on plenty of opportunities to practise speaking and the practical side to the activities.
  • SS positive comments on activities (as relating to their experiences, practical) also indicate that SS intrinsic motivation was reinforced through this experiment. The consensus reaching activity showed their growing awareness of group interaction and collaboration.
  • Despite the slow start, SS were engaged in the lesson and I felt they guided most of the stages in the lesson, especially stage 4, when they transformed the scanning activity into a competition.
  • Although this lesson was quite successful with pre-intermediate class, I don’t feel that Dogme works well with lower level SS, as they haven’t developed enough study skills and independence required in the Dogme classroom.
  • I feel I coped with the emergent language reasonably well, although my observer pointed out the lack of pronunciation drills, and presenting SS with list of vocabulary items, rather than lexical chunks, which could have an adverse effect on retention of new vocabulary.
  • I was pleased with the variety of interactive tasks that were incorporated in the lesson.

This experiment helped me understand the role that published materials (especially textbooks) have played in my development as a teacher. My dependence on them at the beginning of my career left me filled with classroom skills, activity ideas and language awareness, and also gave me the confidence to become more independent from them now. Having done the Dogme ELT lesson, and having exercised dealing with the emergent language on the spot, I can see that working without a textbook can be quite liberating.

Action plan for future professional development.
  • Develop a system of negotiating an individual learning plan with every student and a parallel class learning plan with the whole group to create an inner, organic syllabus, determined by the learners, instead of an imposed, external programme.
  • Contextualise and personalise language learning to increase SS’ intrinsic motivation.
  • Don’t be a course book slave.
  • Keep working on reducing my role in the classroom to increase learner autonomy and confidence.
  • Try Dogme ELT with a higher-level class to see how advanced students manage their own learning in the classroom.
  • Use more real-life, practical language tasks in lessons.

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