Showing Our Voices In a Real Conversation (Dogme Blog Challenge #5)

“Providing space for the learner’s voice means accepting that learner’s beliefs, knowledge, experiences, concerns and desires are valid content in the language learning classroom.”

 ~Luke Meddings & Scott Thornbury, Teaching Unplugged, Delta Teacher Development Series, 2009



This week’s Dogme Blog Challenge (week 5) is about voices. What does it mean to have a voice? How can we provide space for the learner’s voice in the language classroom? Is the student’s voice different in L1 and L2? Is my voice (as a non-NEST) the same in English and in Portuguese? It is the perfect follow up to last week’s materials light challenge , to which there were some very interesting and thought provoking posts in response. While tweeting/talking about some of the posts and the reflections that emerged from them with Dave Dodgson (@DaveDodgson) we had the idea of doing a joint response for the next post. When Karenne (Sylvester) put up this challenge and we saw it was all about voices we just knew what we wanted to do… a conversation. Especially because there were some great posts from challenge 4 shaped as conversations (Willy Cardoso’s  “A Boring Pub Conversation“, followed by David Deubel’s whispered ” A Boring Library Conversation” – where I learned the KISS (Keep it Student Simple) – Neither of them boring at all, I can assure you!).



We considered many ways of doing it, but settled on using Wetoku and have a real conversation – or as real as possible when one of us is in Turkey and the other in Brazil. We thought it would be the perfect way to show our voices – metaphorically and literally speaking. And this is what came from it:


(Note: Extra credit to Dave who, as every great teacher, did his research and even found out about two pubs in Recife (where I live) – Downtown and Uisqueria da Praça – to suggest as places we could’ve had a pub conversation!)



Vodpod videos no longer available.



I hope our conversation was able to convey our thoughts on the issues raised by the challenge clearly. I had a lot of fun doing it, discussing an interesting issue, reflecting on the proposed questions… Despite our very different circumstances (Dave is a NEST working in Turkey, at a regular school, with 10-year-old students while I am a non-NEST teaching English in Brazil, at a language school and my students’ages range from 12 to 40) it’s fascinating to find out how similar our views (and many times our teaching practices) are. It serves to show me how teachers are teachers, it doesn’t matter where they are from or where they are. And the same can be said about the students!


 Thanks for a great idea and an even better conversation Dave. 🙂 It was great hearing your voice! 😉 And you can check Dave’s post in our joint venture here in his Reflections of a Teacher and Learner. I recommend it!



Here are the other posts in response to Dogme Blog Challenge #5:

  • Mike Harrison’s guest post on here, Objects in the Rear View Mirror
  • Paul Braddock’s Barefoot Teaching Challenge/Poll
  • Paul Braddock’s Response to challenge 5
  • David Warr It’s all about them 
  • Diarmuid Fogarty You only sing when you’re winning 
  • Candy von Ost What is talking for anymore? 
  • Leahn Stanhope Can you hear me?
  • David Warr’s Language Garden
  • Sabrina de Vita’s Unheard Voices
  • Willy Cardoso’s Voices

    14 comments on “Showing Our Voices In a Real Conversation (Dogme Blog Challenge #5)

    1. Congratulations to you both for this videopost! You’ve both brought up some very interesting points about a language learner’s voice, and student voices (not necessarily the same thing) and I agree with Dave that possibly it is the setting or situation which influences our voice more than the language itself. I don’t want to say too much as I’m hoping to find time to write my own post in reply to this challenge too 🙂

      Thanks you both for sharing your voices with us!

      • DaveDodgson says:

        Hi Michelle,

        Thanks for watching & commenting (my post was actually ready first but I slept on it while Cecilia found out how to embed video ;)).

        Setting and situation affect the way we appear and sound (or at least the way we try to) a lot, which is why I hesitate a bit when speaking Turkish near my students – I find it to be like a role reversal!

        Looking forward to hearing you ‘voice’ your thoughts on this topic 🙂

      • Hi Michelle!

        I join Dave in thanking you for your comments 🙂 I also agree with Dave on the influence of the setting on the students’ voices – not sure if I’d say it has more weigh on the matter than language… Maybe equal parts? And then doesn’t the speaker’s personality have to do with how he perceives the setting and therefore how it influences (positively or negatively) or not the student’s voice? If it is so, then is it the personality of the ST, not the settting, that influences the outcome? Questions, questions and more questions… what a great challenge this has been to get the thinking going!

    2. Hey Cecilia,

      Just to say I have posted a comment on Dave’s blog. I really enjoyed listening to your conversation and seeing you both! It was certainly worth the wait!!

      Mike =)

      • Glad you enjoyed it Mike! Greatest thing about twitter and having a fantastic PLN is the possibility of collaborating with teachers you admire and think alike, even though they’re geographically too far 🙂 I am about to respond to your comment on Dave’s. 🙂

    3. Shelly says:

      Loved your interview! I think what you said about voice is so true. I remember someone saying that the most important thing to remember when teaching English is not to focus specifically on the grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc. in itself but the focus should be to get the student to be able to get his/her message across. What ever is impacting this process is where the teacher will know where to help? I keep this in mind, because for each student it is a different message they want to get across and different situations. Each one also has different problems that impact getting their messages across.

      • Hi Shelly!

        Yes! Focusing on the each student’s specific reason for not being able to communicate effectively is the best way for the students to achieve fluency and actually learn the language. It may seem like way too much work for the teacher, but it really isn’t. And many times students have the same difficulties, so you can focus on this specific issue on one class, on another the next and so on… It just takes some will from the teacher. And where there’s a will there’s a way. 🙂

        Thanks for your comments 😉 Always enjoy sharing ideas with you!

    4. […] Cecilia Coelho Showing our voices in real conversation […]

    5. […] and David found harmony together this week at Box of Chocolates. Willy literally found it with himself and his guitar at Authentic Teaching. There are many blogs […]

    6. DaveDodgson says:

      Thanks for the comments & trackbacks so far guys!

      Cecilia – Just looking over the stats again: nearly 250 views for the video, about 150 hits on this post in my blog (already appearing on the ‘most popular posts’ list and several new followers for me from Brazil since it was posted! Two voices are better than one!

      Thanks again for collaborating 🙂

    7. dingtonia says:

      Loved this! Making the technology “human” – really great. wish we all had easy access to this kind of “talking” – in the meanwhile, on with the Blog!

    8. Jonathan Reinaux says:

      Hey Céci,
      It was fun to read though your blog. I especially enjoyed the video connversation on VOICES with Dave Dogson. It was very interesting to watch you guys talking.
      Way to go,

      • Thanks Jon! I’m really glad you visited it and read some posts. This one with Dave and I sharing our voices has been one of my favorites as well. He’s a wonderful teacher, full of great ideas, it’s been great sharing and talking to and learning from him – we have very similar ideas about teaching, despite very different settings and backgrounds. That’s the kind of people twitter and the PLN is filled with Jon. I hope I can convince you to join it soon! 😉


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