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There’s one concept I really like about taking an unplugged approach in my teaching: doing away with linearity. For one thing, going in a straight line from one position to another just isn’t very interesting, even if the journey is punctuated by such landmarks as the irregular past simple, articles and wh- questions. Why do coursebooks persist in following such a rigid approach??

Well, to answer my own question, I’d probably point out that it’s the fact that they are books, which are printed in linear, progressive fashion… Now students, turn to page 55 and look at all those object pronouns! (just kidding, as you’d probably never do this). Web 2.0 tools and applications allow for a great deal of flexibility in dealing with language, but could something like a coursebook be produced using this technology, the result of which could be a highly customisable, variable, take-it-where-you-want-it-and-dive-in-wherever-you-like resource?? This idea(l) has been put forward over on the Dogme Yahoo Group (though the conversation has moved on, now taking in possible future projects such as full-blown academic research into the area, teaching/learning narrative, papers to put dogme in context), but until the day the technology and general willing catch up with such a dream thing, the writers of Teaching Unplugged have a much simpler solution, at least in part…

Why not just cut your lexico-grammatical syllabus up? Toss the assorted scraps of language to your learners, see what they say…

To this end I have produced a delinearised (I’m making up words now…) syllabus for my Entry 2 learners.


A Circular Syllabus for ESOL

The idea being that we can refer back to this circle of language after lessons, or even after lesson activities and ask the question ‘what have we done?’


Meddings & Thornbury, Teaching Unplugged, (DELTA Publishing 2009); p74