Dogme ELT

Dogme ELT is a materials light methodology. Started by Scott Thornbury, and growing out of beliefs and ideas about the importance of conversation-driven learner-focused language teaching, its influence has continued to grow since its inception in February 2000.

It takes its name from the Dogme 95 filmmaking movement, who challenged cinema's dependency on special effects, often at the expense of story. Like Dogme 95, Dogme ELT also has ten key principles.

They are :-
  • Interactivity between learners and teachers should be the focus of classroom activity
  • Content for classes should mainly come out of the engagement with 'the people in the room'
  • Knowledge should be co-constructed and come out of dialogue rather than be transmitted to the learners from the teacher
  • The teacher should shape and support (scaffolding) learning that emerges through conversation
  • Language learning is an organic process, based on what emerges from dialogue.

(Meddings & Thornbury, 2009)

There has been much discussion about how best teachers can put this philosophy of language learning to use. Especially if a teacher is bound by the place they work to stick to a rigid curriculum and are forced to follow a course-book. Some have said that the best way to start is for teachers to keep the ideas above in mind and to look out for Dogme ELT moments. The Teaching Unplugged book (see below) is an excellent resource book with advice about creating the right conditions for this, and activities to help teachers make their classes more Dogme ELT.


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