The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 8

It’s the last Dogme day of the Teach-Off.

I walked into class with a huge stack of coloured cards that I had cut up.

On each card is a word, phrase or sentence that contains the lexico-grammar the class had covered over the past two weeks.

After a brief greeting, I put split the class into groups of 2-3 and gave them 15 minutes to work together on a massive recall session, going through what we had covered with the help of their notebooks. I reminded them of the practice they could get by testing each other through describing the phrases to each other, and left them to their own devices.

This was followed by a 2-hour long revision session.

The students were split into 2 groups, and were told to give their groups names.

In the first revision activity, students from the groups then took turns coming up to the front, and were each given the stack of coloured cards and 2 minutes to describe as many of the phrases on the card to their group members as possible. Each correct answer was worth a point, each card that was passed was made available to the opposing team for a guess after the group’s turn was over. Passed cards that were not described or not guessed correctly were put back into the stack.

In the second revision activity, students were asked to sit on the floor in a circle around a bottle of mineral water which I had put in the centre of the circle. I would describe the word or phrase or grammatical structure, and students who knew the answer had to grab the bottle. Only those with the bottle in hand were able to guess. If the guess is incorrect, the student would have to put the bottle back and allow for someone else to grab the bottle. This fast-paced activity often descends into chaos….and a lot of laughter.

Wrapping up the two weeks we had spent together, I explained to students that we had not used the coursebook this week and that I would like to know about how they felt about this teaching approach as compared to their previous learning experiences. I asked for their permission to place a Dictaphone in the centre of the room and conducted a 15-minute focus group session where students were given time to talk about their experiences as I stayed as quiet as possible. So as to give the shy and quiet students a chance to voice their opinions in private, I also gave students a questionnaire that asked for their comments on the Dogme lessons they had experienced.

In order to avoid skewing the results of the following two weeks, I’ll refrain from letting you into what was said/written today and withhold the results till the end of this ‘teach-off’.

Instead, l shall leave you with some photos taken by the lovely Shelly Terrell, who was one of the many observers that took advantage of the open door policy I had all week and came to watch the class.

Photo by Shelly Terrell
Photo by Shelly Terrell
Photo by Shelly Terrell

Author: Chia Suan Chong

I am a writer, communication skills trainer and a teacher trainer based in York, UK. I have been English Teaching Professional's resident blogger since 2012 and have a regular feature in their bimonthly magazine. My book Successful International Communication was published in Dec 2018.

4 thoughts on “The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 8”

    1. My DOS, Varinder, is a very experienced teacher, and I actually think that she’s going to do amazingly well! I’m the one who’s scared of what’s going to happen next…!


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