What is Teaching Unplugged?
We are teachers of English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) who are committed to promoting a 'poor' pedagogy, that is, a pedagogy unburdened by an excess of materials and technology, a pedagogy grounded in the local and relevant concerns of the people in the room.
How did it start?
In February 2000 Scott Thornbury wrote an article called A Dogma for EFL in which he critiqued materials-driven teaching, and in which he invited ESOL teachers, trainers and writers to join him in a pedagogical 'vow of chastity'. By analogy, he adopted the principles (and name) of the Dogme 95 film collective, whose intention it was to rid film-making of an obsessive concern for technique and to rehabilitate a cinema which foregrounded the story, and the inner life of the characters. Scott's article struck a chord and an active email discussion group was formed, in which teachers, trainers and writers explored the possibilities of teaching in the spirit of Dogme - not a "method", let alone a "dogma" - more a state of mind. That state of mind is reborn as Teaching Unplugged.
What is this site?
The Dogme ELT egroup has run up over 600 postings in little over a year. This website represents an attempt to organise some of this rich material into a more coherent and accessible format. Here, for example, you will find source material that helps situate the thinking underlying Teaching Unplugged. By browsing some of their key postings, you can also tap into the voices of teachers who have contributed to the discussion forum. There are also resources for teachers in the form of descriptions of lessons from a wide range of contexts - lessons that are true to the spirit of Teaching Unplugged. Finally, we offer short courses and workshops to interested institutions.