One aspect of Dogme teaching I particularly like is ‘using what’s in the room‘. From years of getting thrown into random classrooms with little notice or even when the class has started, the first thing I do is always LOOK. I check what’s there and then quickly adapt to exploit the available resources. Sadly, I don’t always dress up like a ninja, just sometimes as it’s a great stimulus for discussion.
Actually, one of my questions before I enter is “which room is it in?” to find out about internet access, projectors , desk arrangements, boards and the general space also to find out where the heck it is and if I have time for a cuppa.
The facilities in the room mean you have to adapt your lesson but also can open up new activities. The tip is to be positive even if you are going into a shoebox or a lecture room with 1000 seats but only 10 students. Ask yourself “what kinds of activities does this room lend itself to?”. To do this you must look at what is physically in the room.
I’ve come across a few rooms with 2 whiteboards which is great for competitive or group writing/drawing/dictation. A wheely flippable whiteboard is also brilliant for moving round and putting in the middle of a horseshoe layout then eat side can work on something or compete in a game. Many rooms have dictionaries or bookshelves so check out what there is and how you could use it. Then there’s the basic table/chair groupings. Move the desks to fit activities like having a circle of speakers and 1 notetaker at a table or moving all the tables away and just doing a whole class in a circle or 2/3/4.
One of my favourite activities for describing processes is to open up an old OHP and printer and ask pairs to explain how they work. Another for measurements is to have 1 student inspect the TV and explain the design with accurate measurements to the class who draw them. With lower levels I’ve even asked them to create directions for their partner to leave their desk and go to a specific place in the school. They then go and see if they can follow them and to find if there is a mistake.
Check out the room or as they say in the films ‘scope the place’, then see what you can adapt or invent to take advantage of what you have. Don’t moan that you can’t do group work because the desks are bolted down, figure out what you CAN do and do it NINJA style!