Dogme Blog Challenge #2 It's Emergent?

If learners are supplied with optimal conditions for language use

and are motivated to take advantage of these opportunities, 

their inherent learning capacities will be activated, 

and language - rather than being acquired - will emerge.

Luke Meddings & Scott Thornbury, Teaching Unplugged, Delta Teacher Development Series, 2009.

What does this sentence mean to you?  Do you understand what it means for language to be emergent?   Can something come out of nothing?

Answer in the comments below or if you happen to have a blog, do write your own post explaining how this affects you and your work as an English language teacher by answering any of the questions or something entirely of your own creation...

  • In your own experience, what are the optimal conditions for language use?   Does your classroom look like that?  Why/why not?
  • What are some of the psychological factors which tend to motivate the general population?   Do you ever apply these needs to your language teaching practice?  Which and how?
  • Critics of a dogme approach are quick to seize on its apparent lack of structure or methodological rigour.  In your own personal opinion, how can it qualify as sound practice if so much is left up to chance?
  • Do you believe that we humans have an inherent capacity to learn? And to learn languages? Can you give any examples of something you or your students learned by themselves - stuff which had nothing to do with the materials you were using, your classroom (or the teachers before you)?  Why did you/they learn?  Or conversely, can you show how the materials you've been using are directly key to the language ability they now have today?
  • Read these quotes:  Any attempt to control the selection and sequencing of syllabus items would be most likely to interfere with learning, since, given the state of our knowlede, it could only be appropriate by chance (Allwright, 1979).  Speech cannot be taught directly but "emerges" on its own as a result of building competence via comprehensible input (Krashen, 1985).  And, not finally,  Paulo Freire said: the class is not a class in the traditonal sense but a meeting-place where knowledge is sought and not where it is transmitted.   
How do you teach at the moment?  Do you think that it is necessary to provide your learners with all the language they need to communicate in English or can you enable them to discover any/all the words they need themselves?   How?  If you disagree, why?  If you are using a course book at the moment do you think that there is a way to create "appropriate" opportunities for language use?  How?

Looking forward to learning and sharing with you!


The Blog Posts Challenge #2
Read previous Challenge blog posts:
Read Next in the Challenge series

    What is all this about? 
    The Dogme Blog Challenge + links to the blogs discussing Dogme
    The dogma of Dogme

    How to share on Twitter:  use the #dogmeme hashtag
    How to share your fellow teachers' blog posts with each other?  Add/link to the blog(s) written on the subject on your post so they form a ring and your readers can travel on from post to post!

    How to respond?

    Comment below with short thoughts
    Go to your nearest yahoo!group and share your opinions
    with like-minded teaching colleagues

    Blog it:
    Write a list or tell a story, 
    compare lessons: dogme and non-dogme, 
    relate an experience, a contrary opinion,
    quote research, your own theory,
    submit mere musings, rant...
    share an idea, a paragraph, a dictionary's definition
    come up with a clever sentence,
    a beautiful photograph,

    a video-log
    an article or draft the bones of an essay, 
    share examples from your own classroom experience...

    In short, be dogmeic: personalize  your response!)

    Important URLs to quote/link to in your post if necessary:
    • Teaching Unplugged:
    • Scott Thornbury's website + articles:
    • Scott Thornbury's blog:
    • Luke Meddings' blog:
    • Luke Meddings' on the Delta blog:
    • Dogme ELT in Wikipedia:

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