The Teach-Off – the premise

Today is the day – the day of the teach-off.

What teach-off, you ask?

Following the much-talked and much-blogged about Dogme debate that ensued after the IH DOS conference in January, my DOS publicly challenged me to a Dogme versus Coursebook teach-off in a comment to a series of my Dogme blogposts.

My initial reaction was to wave it off as unscientific, seeing that different teachers would apply Dogme principles very differently to different lessons and different students, and the same could be said for coursebook-based teachers.

However, after some consideration (and egging-on from the people around me), I decided that rather than being purely a competition, we could milk this as an opportunity to develop and to challenge ourselves, to reflect and to be open to feedback and constructive criticism both from our students and from each other. It was with CPD in mind that I accepted the challenge.

So, these are the rules:

1. Over the period of a 4-week long course, I would take the 1st 2 weeks and my DOS will take the subsequent 2 weeks.

2. I am not allowed to use any course books or materials except when students bring in their own materials, or when materials are introduced in an impromptu, improvised manner, led from emergent topics and conversations in the classroom.

3. My DOS is allowed to adapt the course book materials but has to use at least 50% of what is in the course book at least 50% of the time.

4. In Week 2 of both our teaching slots, we have to spend two days doing the opposite of what we are used to, i.e. I have to teach from a course book for 2 days while she has to go Dogme for 2 days.

5. We will observe each others’ lessons (except in my Week 1, when my DOS is off on holiday).

6. We will not tell the students about the teach-off, except to say that they will be getting two teachers for the price of one. We are, however, allowed to explain to our students our methodology of teaching (if that’s what we normally do).

7. We will keep daily reflective journals that relates in detail the goings-on the classroom for that day.

8. We will have regular meetings to discuss the lessons and give each other feedback.

9. We will be teaching Pre-Intermediate (They asked me to pick a level and considering the constant criticism that Dogme cannot be used with low level classes, I went for the lowest level available)

10. My DOS will be my peer for the purpose of this experiment.

I’ll be meeting this group of new students tomorrow morning and I am nervous…very nervous…

Suddenly, I feel like I’m losing all my courage and feeling so very small…

Why have I agreed to this?