I take th e
Hi David, I’m reading this as an extended analogy, which is what Dogme ELT was when it started – using the metaphor of Dogme the film movement, you have identified (in the 2nd half of your post) the ‘degenerate’ form of Dogme. I think that – again, as with the Dogme film movement, there is a less malign version, witness the handful of good movies that did come out of that movement. If nothing else, some teachers have found Dogme ELT a powerful spur to their own development.
But I want to pursue this point: “if Dogme ELT were to follow the original Dogme manifesto, it wouldn’t ever take place in a class but only use original settings for practicing language. For example, if you were learning about ordering food, you’d do so in a restaurant.” In fact what you describe is closely akin to the ‘learning language in the wild’ initiative, that is being promoted in a number of Nordic countries and is described here: http://languagelearninginthewild.com/home/mission/
Interestingly, in the latest issue of Applied Linguistics (2019, 40/2) Y. Kim describes a variant called ‘conversation-for-learning’ (CfL) that takes the position that learning language in the wild is “too chaotic and unpredictable” to serve as a useful context for language learning. On the other hand conversation-for-learning “can provide one alternative that falls between the two extremes of the limited experience that the classroom environment can afford and interaction ‘in the wild’ in that it provides interactional opportunities which more closely resemble real-life social encounters, though still sheltered.’ Essentially, learners are paired or in small groups and “are given no instruction beyond’ just talk’ and the flexible format enables the talk to flow like casual conversation’. The article goes on to show how this context can create multiple opportunities for negotiation of common ground: ‘in contrast to conversations that involve family members and close friends, where interactants have roughly stable and good estimates of shared knowledge bases with each other, the shared knowledge base in CfL has to be established in the course of an interaction and can turn out to vary greatly.’ Arguably, this ‘information gap’ provides a fertile ground for language learning affordances. (Good) Dogme provides that too – the key phrase for me being ‘though still sheltered’.
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