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It’s taken a while, but now that I’ve made it through my first week in Dubai, I finally have a chance to reflect on my final class with the Pura Vida Dogme group.  I’m calling this one class 17 and 18 as it included a two-hour class followed by two hours conversation in English in the local cantina – something I’ll sorely miss…

Right from the get go

Walking into class, it was clear what the students had on their mind.  They knew it was my last class (Chris was going to finish off the course), and wanted to know how we were going to celebrate.  Since they all seemed to be pub-going folk, functional language for drinking establishments seemed to be a sensible direction for the class.

After about 20 minutes of lexis review exercises, the main part of the lesson went something like this:

Talking about pubs

  • Quick discussion of what cantinas are called in English (UK and US)
  • Pairs made a list of all the qualities of an excellent bar and boarded them
  • Groups of 4 had to compare and combine their lists before choosing the 5 most important qualities (this list was then compared to mine and Chris’ very short list)
  • A bit of clarification, reformulation, drilling and correction of the new lexis that had come up

I felt like this part of the lesson went over well and was another one of my preferred mini-TBL cycles.  However, while it provoked discussion and led to some useful lexis, it still felt like they hadn’t had much opportunity for challenging speaking practice involving new language.  So…

Talking in pubs

  • Class brainstorm of when they would need to speak in English in a pub (asking for a drink, chatting up a girl, finding the washroom, etc.)
  • Pairs came up with all the exponents they could think of and boarded them
  • Clarification stage in which we categorized by register and I added a few exponents I thought they might find useful
  • Pairs wrote dialogues in pairs, trying to use the new language
  • Performed the dialogues in front of the class
  • Minimal delayed feedback to finish

Canchis Canchis

And off we went to the local cantina.  Drinking Imperial, eating Chicharrones, and watching Costa Rican music videos from the 1980’s.  If you haven’t seen Canchis Canchis, I highly recommend you click here.

Anyways, it was a great informal wrap up to my part of the course, in large part because two of the more loyal students had a lot to say.  Both had unexpectedly checked out this blog and were curious as to what Dogme was.  As we talked, they described how it was different, and here were some of the points they made:

On the positive side

  • Highly enjoyed the course
  • Liked the focus on lexis
  • Loved the amount of speaking
  • Liked that everything was based around them
  • Liked the small number of students

However…

  • Didn’t feel like it would work so well with beginners
  • Didn’t feel it would work with non-native speakers
  • Didn’t feel as much pressure to do homework as there was no assessment (and consequently didn’t do as much at home)

Rather than analyze these comments now, I think I’ll wait for their learner diaries and final course evaluations to be turned in and write up another post then.  Instead, I’ll leave you with a small clip of the final class (unsteadily shot on my phone).  Thanks D and F!

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