Dogme Blog Challenge #6 Exploding the Myths 1 "NNESTS can't do dogme"

Teacher, you got it wrong:
by Christina Chang, Taiwan

Oh, No, Teacher, you got it all wrong.

Oh, No, Teacher, you got it all wrong.

I just realized how we never learned to think in English
and why we could not write in English without fear of making mistakes.

Hate: when you introduced the word 'hate' to me
in English, you were in such a hurry to show me
that it was a verb, a transtive verb but it could also be intranstive
and the past tense looked like 'hated' and
the past participle was also such and such and you moved on
to write on the board the tricky "hatred"-noun of 'hate' -
not to be confused with 'hated' and then the adjective of 'hate'.
And You yourself never did tell us one thing
you hated in your life. Not one thing. There was no time.

It was when I read Seymour Papert, a renowned scholar at MIT,
through the Internet, writing how he grew up
in South Africa . . .

"I grew up in South Africa and one thing
I learned to hate was all forms of segregation . . ."

He went on and on, saying what and why he hated . . .

It was then that I relearned the word 'hate' and
I picked up the word 'segregation' so surely without looking up
in a dictionary. No need to.

I then learned to say . . .

I hate, growing up, being taught English in Taiwan
by teachers, who could not say what they hated and I became
stuttered in English and not knowing why . . .

I hate the segregation of Native and Non-Nativeness;
I hate the blind fear you harbor in yourself secretly and carefully
about using English . . . yeah, not to lose face
I hate that you did not use English to communicate
anything about yourself, about your feelings and thoughts and
We never got to do so and learned how it is to say
"I hate" in English.

You did teach 'Grammar' and "Rules'
as if they were the only guarantees that would save me
against 'losing face' or 'losing out' -- in exams.
But do you see what we might lose in life's journey
Beyond winning exams and saving faces?

I hate that people around me are trying to make me into
someone like you, make me believe that we could only
be someone like you,

Who are willing to judge and be judged by
grammar and rules all throughout their lives of using English
because of the segregation of Native and Non-Nativeness.

Oh, No, Teacher, you got it all wrong.

I've found my voice in English. Have you found yours?
In life's long journey, I know I have won my share of using English
without fear of segregation. 

found in the dogme yahoo group, 2005  

In a world approaching 2 billion English language learners, one third of the planet's population, there are give or take, 4 million TEFL teachers in the world at any one time.   

Unquestionably, most English teachers in the world are actually non-native speakers of English.

1. Some critics of the Dogme approach have suggested that only native-speaker teachers can feel fully comfortable in this unplanned teaching mode.  A Dogme approach can sound high risk, involving snap decisions and an intuitive feel for both accuracy and appropriacy - the kinds of skills often associated with (experienced) native-speaker teachers.   Luke Meddings & Scott Thornbury, Teaching Unplugged, Delta Teacher Development Series, 2009.

What do you think?  Are Non Native English Speaking teachers disadvantaged?

2. What role does a knowledge of the home culture play in the creation and execution of dogme in the classroom? 

3. If language is seen through the eyes and voice of the learners, how might this not be transmitted through a Native English Speaking teacher?  If you are a NNEST reading this blog post, what do you bring to your classroom that, in your opinion, a NEST cannot?

4. Is language teaching about creating perfect models of expression?   As a NEST, what are your advantages in approaching your classes Dogmeically that, in your opinion, your NNEST colleagues may not have?

5. Or is there any arrogance in the perceived notions that someone who was not born in a native English speaking country has a somewhat lesser level of English?  Is this a truth?  

Explode the myth.

The Blog Posts Challenge #6

      Read previous Challenge blog posts:
      What is all this about? 
      The Dogme Blog Challenge + links to the blogs discussing Dogme
      The dogma of Dogme - background info & links
      Dogme ELT - other stuff I've written on Dogme

      Important Link for NNESTs

      How to share on Twitter:  use the #dogmeme hashtag - if you're not on Twitter, email me your link or add it below :-)

      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:

      4 Responses to “Dogme Blog Challenge #6 Exploding the Myths 1 "NNESTS can't do dogme"”

      • Willie Lee says:
        November 13, 2010

        oh man! this is gonna be a good one! can't wait to see flames all over the blogosphere, that is, if we can afford to be bad-asses.

        I, for one, never had great experiences with American teachers in my staff! ha ha ha. Those could never do a Dogme, they could barely spell it. ha ha ha [evil laughter]

      • Unknown says:
        November 13, 2010

        My good friend and very experienced NNEST Tiziana Arnoldi
        says she brings the valuable experience of having gone through the very process the learners are undergoing.

        I'm a NEST but I've had a go at learning half a dozen languages, and it's tremendously illuminating for a teacher. Essential, I'd say.

      • Anonymous says:
        November 13, 2010

        Wow! This is gonna be very controversial. Really looking forward to writing about it. However, I have just finished writing the previous challenge. Too tired to continue. Thanks for all the hard work Karenne.

      • Thomas Baker says:
        December 19, 2010

        Brilliant! This is the Dogme Challenge of Challenges! Is Dogme only for the Native English Speaking Teacher, or does it include the Non-Native? And that poem about hate, hated, hatred, etc. sent chills down my spine as i read it. Great bit of research. Again, absolutely brilliant. Well done my friend. Best regards, Thomas Baker Native Speaker Santiago Chile


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