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Dogme ELT
by Małgorzata Bryndal
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My professional interest in Dogme ELT.

My decision to experiment with the methodology of Dogme ELT has been influenced by a few factors. First of all, my current teaching context, being community-based, is very ‘dogmesque’, not only in terms of its strong socio-cultural focus, but also in terms of the lack of essentials (such as a learning-conducive classroom or a white board), let alone readily available ELT materials. Such teaching environment has made me look for an alternative teaching route to what I have been accustomed to. Dogme ELT lends itself ideally to my teaching context, in that it transforms the lack of ELT paraphernalia almost into a blessing in disguise, making a pedagogical virtue of necessity, and at the same time looks into the life of the students to fish for the learning content and real learning opportunities.

Secondly, whilst reading about Dogme’s principles I started to reflect on the value of my teaching practices and habits. I believe that any ELT development that fosters me to think about my own teaching is an instrument for self-improvement, which is what any teacher should aim for. My initial strong and rather negative reaction to Dogme ELT has given way to questions about the amount of photocopies I bring to the classroom and how I let them become a filter between me and my students. It made me realize that perhaps I have become too dependent on teaching materials, stifling students’ real learning opportunities, and it would be interesting to see if I were able to teach effectively without the excess of paper and technology, in the true spirit of community or informal education.

Thirdly, Dogme ELT made me think about my profile in the classroom. My teaching style can be quite controlling, and I would like to try and adopt a lower profile in the classroom, giving students more ownership of what is happening in class and letting them guide the direction of the lesson.

The objectives for the experimental lesson.

The class I have chosen for the experimental lesson is a pre-intermediate group of Muslim women, attending a community-based English course ran at a local library. It will be interesting to see how they react to a lesson format different from what they have been used to, and if Dogme ELT, proves workable in this teaching context.

The objectives of the experimental lesson are therefore, threefold:

  • To test face validity of Dogme ELT methodology:
  • to see what the students make of it,
  • to see to what extend the students are engaged in the lesson,
  • to see if they enjoy Dogme-like teaching and learning.
  • To test if Dogme ELT is applicable to lower level students.
  • To see if I can effectively cope with emerging language and incorporating it into on-the-spot created activities.

I intend to measure the first objective of the experiment by means of a simple questionnaire that students will be asked to complete after the lesson. I will also ask a more experienced colleague to observe the lesson and feedback his/her remarks regarding the second and third objectives after the lesson.


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Thornbury, S. (2001) Teaching Unplugged (Or That’s Dogme with and E). It’s for Teachers, Feb Issue


Thornbury, S. & Meddings, L. (2001) Roaring In the Chimney (or What Coursebooks are Good For). Modern English Teacher, Vol. 10/3, July 2001.

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Małgorzata Bryndal has been involved in English language teaching for ten years.  She has taught in schools in Poland and the UK.  From 2005 she has been an Assistant Examiner for Cambridge ESOL upper main suite examinations and an Oral Assessor for Cambridge ESOL Skills for Life speaking and listening exam.  She is currently working for English in Chester and occasionally as freelance interpreter and translator.


Małgorzata’s qualifications include a PhD in Linguistics from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland; an MA in Linguistics and Information Science from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland, the RSA Cambridge Diploma (DELTA), and the RSA CELTA (A).
Her professional interests include teacher development and teacher training, L1& L2 phonology and idiomaticity.
You can contact Małgorzata at:

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