Interesting what you find turning up about you in this interconnected blogosphere of ours!
I was checking out Luke Meddings' recent post about The ghost of PPP, and whilst reading through some of the interesting comments found a reference to my post from last year where I presented an actual unplugged lesson with beginner level students, with the help of some flipcammed segments of the lesson.
The reference (provided by a Mr Darkbloom - a sometime and welcome commenter on this blog, as it turns out!) was in response to a request from someone of video footage of an actual unplugged lesson, and was followed up with the following critique:
PS: I'm being really picky here (could I do better? Probably not), but I think he over does it with the repeating what they just said thing. Almost every last word the learners say, he repeats it.
I love feedback like this, as it encourages me to look back at my teaching, think about it from a new angle, and see if there is something I can take from it.
Having watched the videos again, I must admit there is plenty of repetition of what the learners are saying (actually: in most cases, what they are trying to say...), but in the end I don't think that tells the whole story. Not by a long shot.
What do you think?
Am I simply repeating everything the learners say?
If not (and something else is happening around that repetition), what is it and why do you think I am doing it?
Consider the level (quite low beginner) and the facts that (a) there is a mixture of nationalities in the classroom, and (b) almost every learner in that class has a genuine problem with clear and comprehensible pronunciation, and (c) learners are trying to communicate with single words or very short, sometimes garbled phrases...
Consider also that this is an unplugged approach, with at least some adherence to some of Dogme's essential principles (conversation, emergent language, materials-light).
What do you figure I am up to?
There is actually a lot going on there, and it says a lot about my approach on various fronts (not least how I manage to teach unplugged with extremely low levels).
I'm not going to serve it up on a plate for you, but I would encourage Mr Darkbloom to observe again and think a little more about the approach here. I welcome the question/criticism, but methinks only the part of the iceberg visible above water has been spotted here!
Then again, perhaps teachers out there (and learners, too!) just see a teacher parrotting learners and think it's overdone.
Are they right?