activity: misleading chunks

The short film “Illegal” is about the human dimension of illegal immigration to the US. It tells the stories of young people who were born abroad and brought to America by their parents when they were still very young. Despite being brought up in America, going to school there and feeling American through and through theyContinue reading “activity: misleading chunks”

Draw something! – ideas about sketching and drawing as springboard for language production

Some time ago I planned a lesson about robots with my upper intermediate/advanced class. We would be covering economic and ethical implications of robotics. To start I wanted to make the class aware of their individual and common concepts of robots. I came up with the following task: 1. Take a piece of paper andContinue reading “Draw something! – ideas about sketching and drawing as springboard for language production”

Lesson Idea: “You are what you eat”

ELT teachers do seem to nurse a soft spot for fine cuisine – the eltpics set on flickr labelled “food” for example has by far the most entries of all sets uploaded. Food, of course, is not only a topic to nourish ELT-teachers’ culinary ambitions in their scarce free time, but also works well inContinue reading “Lesson Idea: “You are what you eat””

Working with emergent language – inspiration from a year of practice

The aspect that has changed my teaching the most profoundly since I first stumbled over Dogme ELT is the focus on emergent language. My exploring the approach over the last year has not made me a full Dogmetician (Is that the word?), but a strong focus on emergent language has since become one of theContinue reading “Working with emergent language – inspiration from a year of practice”

One Book to Bring Them All and Bind Them – making the case for vocabulary notebooks

The school I am teaching at has been using vocabulary books for years. They are organized thematically and offer word lists, translations into L1, short ecyclopedia-style texts where the words are used in and some gap filling activities. My colleagues seem to like them, but whenever I tried to use them in class I foundContinue reading “One Book to Bring Them All and Bind Them – making the case for vocabulary notebooks”

More Wilderness – teaching introverted students

In an excellent and entertaining TED talk author Susan Cain gives insights into the world of introverted people. By using her own life as an example she talks about all the typical obstacles and hardships introverts have to overcome. Cain states that about 30%-50% of us count as introverts (other sources seem to confirm thisContinue reading “More Wilderness – teaching introverted students”

Dogme for Learners II – Things to Hold on to

One of the benefits of coursebooks is that they give students something to hold on to. Their linear structure might be flawed and will often obstruct meaningful conversation, but at least they give some sort of structure. And don’t be mistaken, students WANT structure, they NEED structure. As much as intelligent scaffolding is useful forContinue reading “Dogme for Learners II – Things to Hold on to”

Dogme for Learners I – Revising Revision

Teaching Dogme is a new way of teaching but learning Dogme is also a new way of learning. A rant about class tests The German school system has always believed in class tests as the Golden Egg of learning. School law sets a fixed number of them for every subject taught at school. My EnglishContinue reading “Dogme for Learners I – Revising Revision”

They do care! – My thoughts on Dogme so far

During my last summer break preparing for the school year to come I got seriously infected by the idea of teaching Dogme ELT. Reading the magnificent blogs of Dale Coulter and Scott Thornbury was profundly inspiring. I had always felt sceptical about course books. In my experience they often are detrimental to communication and theirContinue reading “They do care! – My thoughts on Dogme so far”