As someone at the "coal face" I'm really enjoying the to-and-fro debate about "dogme" or "teaching unplugged".
I must agree I don't like the name "dogme" - it reminds me too much of a dog (mongrel) or of being in church. Also, I think "unplugged" is a bit negative - like something has been removed. I'm not sure what other term would be better though. Perhaps "open teaching", "liberated teaching", "selective teaching", "responsive teaching"???
Also, as you say, trying to convince government authorities, administrators, head teachers and parents that it's not necessary to use a coursebook, or to use it selectively, is an uphill battle.
The reality is that some in the EFL world are simply happy with what they know, or feel they are too poorly paid to consider it worth their time changing, or are put off by the likely negative response from above that an "unplugged" approach would induce.
I am not one of them, by the way!
While I don't always stick to the coursebook, at elementary school level I tend to devise other activities (like TPR or skits or story telling) which, though unplugged, aren't exactly spontaneously emerging from the ebb and flow of classroom talk, since that is necessarily limited by young learners' minimal exposure to, and training in, English. So, I use the framework of the coursebook with its specified curriculum, but decide in what ways I will address the content.
I suppose what I am doing is learning about the interests and experiences of students over a period of time working with them, and the indirect feedback I receive from trying particular activities, to build into the design of future lessons. Is that "emergent"?
Finally, I agree that those who have engaged in this debate could well now start consolidating resources, and putting together ideas and practical examples which would help us in the situations in which we teach, such as young learners, and large classes. After all, that probably represents the situation of most ESL/EFL teachers.
Please keep nudging us along.
Posted today at http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/2010/10/a-call-to-arms-on-both-sides-of-the-unplugged-fence.html
I would echo your feelings about the differences between EFL and ESL students, though in EFL elementary schools I've found respect and motivation levels are as high as in ESL ones, though for different reasons. I agree that this changes when students move to high schools.
I think this stems largely from three factors, namely (a) minimal consequences for low performance (you don't need English to survive in your home country), (b) the influence of the local culture and (c) management of language programs by EFL speakers in educational administrations.
As an addition, I would also mention that teachers' own circumstances vary considerably from EFL to ESL situations. Living in one's own country with all the support networks, home comforts and L1 administrators makes it easier to survive and thrive. Here in Taiwan (and when I worked in Korea) I'm officially an "alien"! and at times it really feels that way.
Nice post, Greg.
Posted today at http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/2010/10/esl-versus-efl-is-there-a-difference.html