Thursday, 21 May 2009

Dogme ICT and their "Vow of Flirtiness"

Fans of the Dogme school of teaching promoted most prominently by Scott Thornbury will know that in fact it is a movement of like-minded souls/teachers who believe in working with what is there on what is relevant. The original film movement around Lars von Trier took a "Vow of Chasity" to do without the unnecessary trappings that would distract from the heart of the matter, and that has translated into the classroom, most basically, as "come as you are".

I was sitting next to a guy at IATEFL and asked him, "So what do you think Thornbury thinks of using all of those games and gadgets in class?" "Oh, that wouldn't work with Dogme, now would it?" he said

But in fact it does, and quite well. The dogmetists and the Second Lifers (there seem to be far more of those in EFL than in the world at large) have got together to found Dogme ICT (as in Dogme Information and Communication Technology). They extend the idea of "coming as you are" to "coming as you are and letting the students use the hot gadgets in their pockets". In his blog Gavin Dudeney has announced that they are taking a "Vow of Flirtiness". As for the manifesto, these are the truths they hold most dear:
  • "Teaching should be done wherever possible, taking advantage of the affordances ICT offer - props and tools should be brought into the class when they encourage learners to engage in meaningful conversation with people they actually want to talk to.
  • Teaching should be done using any resources that the learners find interesting and useful, and using any technologies to hand. If a particular piece of equipment is needed, ask the learners - they probably have it in their bag or coat pocket.
  • Recorded listening or viewing material (podcasts, vodcasts, YouTube, etc.) should be used when the learners find the material interesting and where it has some relevance to their lives. Learners should be encouraged to produce as much as they consume.
  • Temporal and geographic alienation are what you make of them. Don’t be afraid to take your learners in to Second Life to a fantasy island, or to Curitiba using Google Maps. Look for the good and useful in each location rather than writing them off piecemeal."
Much of that sounds reasonable to me. We're moving into a time when technology won't be "in the way" anymore, where we'll be savvy enough to be able to use gadgets, tools and the Internet as easily and creatively as we now use bits of paper, pins, pens, props and realia - moving into the aesthetic worlds our students inhabit and are more comfortable in. Their world is where learning should happen: Pretty much anything that captures their interest can be a vehicle for learning, can't it?

Gavin Dudeney's article is in his blog, That'SLife.


Gavin Dudeney said...


There was more than a bit of tongue in cheek about my posting, which doesn't really necessarily represent a 'coming together' of the DOGME list with the die-hard techies like me... However, I do fervently believe that conversation between like-minded people, facilitated by technology, is probably going to be more real and useful than conversation between learners or learners/teachers randomly thrown together in a classroom, however democratic and DOGME it may be...

Anne Hodgson said...

Welcome :)! It's fun to watch your two "camps" dancing around each other, and your discussions have been providing plenty of food for thought. Actually I do think that ICT can be used by the savvy barefoot/ empty-handed teacher. With a media lab and internet connections and a good classroom community, who needs a fixed agenda, let alone a coursebook? I'm all for emergent lessons.


I didn't see this before! How time flies, eh, a year ago and no one would have thought... didn't even know that you were in the dogme group (ya lurker you) to experience all the goings-on back then!