Posts Tagged ‘critical thinking’


September 30, 2015 Leave a comment

In order to be a better teacher

Forget what you’ve learned; stop being the guide.

When teachers don’t teach or point out the way,

Students listen harder and learn without tears.

No skills, no levels, no talents, no shame:

No cheats, no problems, no yawning, no fakes.

But all of this is not enough,

To excel remember just one more thing:

Look at plain silk; hold uncarved wood.*

It’s not about you; it’s not about goals.


*There’s too much to unpack within these seven words  for me to even attempt to paraphrase them; I discovered this…by attempting to paraphrase them. 

*My original commentary on Chapter 19 is here.


September 26, 2015 Leave a comment

A professional approach and kindness

are the opposite of the best type of teaching.

Valuing intelligence and understanding,

you miss the point entirely.

The teacher who rules the class and directs the learning

will be plagued by obedient and respectful students.

When nothing is clear and it all seems a muddle,

materials will arrive to help you lose your way.


*My original commentary on Chapter 18 is here.


July 31, 2015 Leave a comment

When you create your effective learning environment,

The effectiveness comes from what you have no control over.

When you talk about the usefulness of your subject,

Its real use comes from something that has nothing to do with you.

The sticking point of all knowledge

Is to be found around the edges of the knowledge that has already stuck.

Focus on what you are bringing to the classroom and you will feel worthwhile;

Focus on what you are not bringing to the classroom and you will be worthwhile.

*My original commentary on Chapter 11 is here

This is a critical update

December 5, 2010 5 comments

In an inspired move, Karenne sets up the critical aspect of dogme for Dogme Challenge Number 9. I don’t know if she was saving this for my 40th birthday, but if she was, allow me now to say thank you – it was the best present I could have been given. This is what most turned me on to dogme back in 2001. I’d been reading Freire and spending hours trying to decipher just exactly what he was on about. Bells were chiming everywhere (I lived in a bell tower) and purpose had been delivered unto my life. Dogme seemed to be fertile soil for my emerging plans to destroy capitalism through the teaching of English as a foreign language.

Relatively recently, Scott Thornbury became the boy who kicked a hornet’s nest when he wrote a blog entry for the British Council entitled, “Dogme: nothing if not critical.”  The article provided, as usual, a lot of food for thought. In true critical style, the question that it asked was whether or not dogme had a claim on the title of critical pedagogy. I argued that it was not.

Like Sergio Ramos, this is going to get messy. Read more…

It eight what you do, it’s the way that you do it

November 9, 2009 4 comments

This part of the TTC  sets out some guidelines for good behaviour. Primarily, don’t compete. Or perhaps it would be more in keeping with Tao to say, “Don’t bother competing”. Lao says, look at something like water. It does a lot of good things and makes a lot of people very happy (unless it’s pouring down from the sky or you were on the HMS Titanic), but it doesn’t actually try to do this. It can get places where we can’t (or don’t want to) and therefore, according to our sage, it is very similar to The Tao. Read more…

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