In 2000, Scott Thornbury wrote a seminal article about the state of ELT called A Dogma for EFL. You can read the article here, but the gist of it could be that there’s an over-reliance (and that was back in 2000!) in ELT on course books, technology, etc. Thornbury writes, “(…) Along with the quantity (I hesitate to use the word variety) of coursebooks in print, there is an embarrassment of complementary riches in the form of videos, CD-ROMs, photocopiable resource packs, pull-out word lists, and even web-sites (…)”. He then asks, “But where is the story? Where is the inner life of the student in all this? Where is real communication? More often than not, it is buried under an avalanche of photocopies, visual aids, transparencies, MTV clips and cuisenaire rods. Somewhere in there we lost the plot.” (I love this paragraph so much, not least because it mentions MTV!)

Fast-forward 22 years and where are we? Are things different, or do we still rely on published ‘gimmicks’ more than we perhaps should? Do we still equate coursebooks with courses, and just assume that if it’s in the coursebook, it’s useful for our learners?

In this talk, we’ll discuss Dogme ELT — what it is, what it isn’t, and how to use (at least some of) its features and ideas in our classes. Some of the questions and issues that will be addressed:

  • Have things changed in the past 22 years since Thornbury’s original article? If so, how so?
  • Can we use a coursebook and Dogme principles at the same time, or are they mutually exclusive?
  • How to deal with emergent language.
  • Some practical ideas to use Dogme principles when teaching General English and also teaching for exams.

And more.

For more information or if you have any questions, please write to me at To register, click here. To read about the whole series, click here.