Last week, in one of my other Dogme classes with a group of 12 art history students, 3 new students were suddenly added, 5 weeks into the semester. Make that a group of 15 art history students then.
I wanted to make sure these newcomers knew what was going on in class, so instead of me explaining Dogme, I let the “old” students do it for me.
In pairs, they had a few minutes to think about how they could explain the approach. Then they would do some real communicating with their new classmates. This of course had two purposes:
- The new students got filled in on Dogme
- I found out how students saw the approach, now that we’ve done 5 weeks of it
Here’s what I got from each pair, based on the notes I scribbled as they were talking:
- It’s about communication between students in the class. The new vocabulary, etc. comes from students’ communication and from the teacher’s help. It involves re-working what we said to correct it.
- We often work in small groups, then we compare with another group, then we share as a class
- It’s a new way to learn English. The students get to decide what we want to work on and the themes of the lessons
- It’s more practice than theory and is an original method
- It’s communication exercises with vocabulary help and homework based on what came up in class. We share with others and it encourages communication about ourselves between the students
I think that pretty much sums up the way the class has been working. I was glad that they recognized the very communicative element of the approach. The theory-practice dichotomy also made me smile, as many classes here in France are often criticized for being all theory and no practice.
I’m not sure what I would have liked them to say more. Perhaps that they are more involved in the approach or that it gives them opportunities to take control of THEIR class. Perhaps this means that I should encourage them more strongly to be really active in what goes on in class.
These students are indeed more involved than some of my traditional classes, so maybe now I can push them just a bit more in the second half of the semester…
Do you think they missed anything?