listening comprehension woes

The compulsory listening comprehension tests we have in our country are a daunting task for many of my students – not least because they are so completely different from real life situations. The tasks are stripped from almost any kind of helpful context, always ask only for specific details (instead of more general information), andContinue reading “listening comprehension woes”

while doing something else …

Given the overwhelming evidence against the concept of multitasking I wonder why teacher training courses still seem to preach the dogma of while-viewing and while-listening activities. Why should we force students to multitask when studies suggest that multitasking is hindering learning and is detrimental to academic performance? Perhaps teachers are afraid they could come across as lazyContinue reading “while doing something else …”

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”

Dogme and the Antifragile

The holidays left me with a bit of spare time to do some reading. One of the ebooks I managed to cram in between Christmas turkeys and New Year’s fireworks was Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In it the author divides all systems (institutions, societies, things, life, people …) into three categories: the fragile, the robust andContinue reading “Dogme and the Antifragile”

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”