We’re really thrilled that Sabrina De Vita agreed to share this excellent post with us, and we are looking forward to more guest posts from her in the future. You might be wondering who Sabrina is. It might be easier if I pass the baton to her. This is how she describes herself on her blog: “I’m Sabrina De Vita and I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m an English teacher. I have studied at the teacher training college Joaquin V Gonzalez. At the moment, I’m working at a state primary school for adults and for kids. I also work in company. Finally, I give online classes. And, yeah, I think that’s pretty much it.”
Short and sweet, I’d say.
The post we are sharing here was originally written by Sabrina in 2010 for The Dogme Blog Challenge No 6 in November 2010 and entitled “It all comes down to PASSION”. You can still read it on Sabrina’s blog here. You can also find the post and many other truly excellent and passionate ones in our Useful Links section. Sabrina answers the question whether NNESTs are at an disadvantage when teaching DOGME.
I only came across Sabrina’s post a few weeks back, and I was immediately taken by her style and enthusiasm. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading it as well. And don’t forget to comment below. We’d love to hear what you think.
So without much further ado, here it is:
Being an effective teacher – whether in an unplugged setting or not – is not about being (or not) a NEST.
Henrick Oprea and Richard seem to agree with her, and me too of course. They have clarified perfectly well the differences between the NESTs and NNESTs and what each of them brings to the classroom. I am not going to go more deeply into this topic in order not to be repetitive. To me, it doesn’t matter whether you are a NEST or a NNEST, what really matters is whether you are passionate or not about teaching. Here, you can see a graph of what the main elements that an EST, with or without N =), should have:
Apart from that, passion is the motor that pushes you to become better. It encourages you to try harder in order to become a better educator (and not just an English teacher), to take risks and try new things. You wouldn’t be giving Dogme a try if you were afraid of risks. I’m almost sure both NESTs and NNESTs find the idea of giving students more control and more class plans flexibility totally scary at the beginning.
Furthermore, passionate educators are not afraid of making mistakes, as they can learn a lot from them (the most useful inventions resulted from mistakes!). And most important of all, they have a good attitude towards students mistakes. Smart, self-motivated, hard-working, wide-awake students don’t need to be taught. They are the other ones that need always to be taken into account. Good teachers always reflect upon their teaching, and wonder especially, what they did wrong for those one or two students who are demotivated or at a loss in their class.
Finally, passionate teachers are always busy, and this is not because of the amount of classes they have to teach. They prefer to be busy and know that the work of good teaching expands to fill every moment they can give it. When they are not writing in their blogs, they are planning classes, marking exams, interacting with their PLN, and so on and so forth (does it ring a bell?).
Summing up, and trying to answer Karenne’s questions:
What do you think? Are Non Native English Speaking teachers disadvantaged?
Yes, they are. But only because we humans beings tend to be prejudiced. Let’s explode the myth “that only native-speaker teachers can feel fully comfortable in this unplanned teaching mode”. Dogme teaching just requires a passionate teacher in front of the classroom. I have already described what are the traits that a passionate teacher has and how and why they are necessary in a dogme class. I really believe these characteristics can be found in both NEST and NNEST teachers. But Unfortunately, not in all of them”
PS: If you’d like to write a guest post for the blog, or become a regular contributor, please contact us with your ideas. We’d love to hear from you!