Poor old dogme – lately it has been thrashed around and pushed and pulled and scrutinised and prodded and poked and examined to within an inch of its life. Luckily, it appears to be very robust and tenacious. I read the transcript of the ELTchat about whether or not dogme was suitable for schools or if it was a niche product. Duncan Baker, I think it was kept asking what was “in the dogme bottle”.
I have thought and thought about this until my brain hurts and I’m not sure, but maybe there isn’t anything in the bottle. Think of Scotch – water, barley and yeast. But, depending on the water, the barley mash and malting and the skill of the master blender (I think that’s who it is), a liquid will be produced that is unique, but true to the spirit of Scotch. That’s dogme – take the student, the language, the context and the skill of the teacher and together you produce a lesson that is unique, but true to spirit of dogme. There is no “right way” of doing it; there is no “one and only method”. Take what’s there, mix it according to nose and feeling and desire and enjoy what results (emerges). But before you start, the bottle is empty. Dogme is not a product: it’s the creation of a product using local ingredients and blending, mixing and shaping them to make a finished product.