24 comments on “What the Dickens!

  1. Hi Jeremy, it was a pleasure debating with you and thanks for the generous comment. It was quite an introduction to 2012!

    Meanwhile I’m sure that reading extracts from Dickens (or any other writer) should be at the heart of such a celebration, especially if contextualised as you describe above – my Expectations are that it’ll be Great


    • Hello Luke,

      I have been thinking (a little – when my brain allows it) about the Dogme discussion we had last week. Lots of interconnected responses and thoughts….for another time.

      Haha. Great Expectations! Of course we have included the graveyard scene from the beginning (and Steve created a whole ambience with various percussion instrument) – and also the re-written end (Estella says “I have been bent and broken – I hope – into a better shape”).

      Difficult to concentrate on ‘work’ when Dickens is hovering around!!


  2. My homage would be to the Canadian writers Carol Shields and Margaret Atwood. I have learned so mucho from live, love, history, English grammar and lexis from them. They have been my best teachers during 2011. I hope the new year opens my mind to new literary worlds. Maybe re-reading Charles Dickens? I can’t wait to go and find his writings and re-discover him. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Hello Ana Maria,

    Carol Shields and Margaret Atwood! What a combination. And what a show that might be. And as for Dickens? Well the novels are amazing. Melodramatic. Sentimental. Funny. Angry. Victorian etc etc.

    Our problem (if we have one) is how to distill Dickens’ amazing writing into 8 (plus a couple of little extras) extracts….how to introduce them, how to read them well, how to contextualise them with music, how to end them etc etc.

    Ah well…


      • Hi Ana Maria,

        we would LOVE to do the show in Peru. Any excuse to come back again!

        Maybe people at the Britanico and the Council together would like to get us out there.

        ¡Dedos cruzados!


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  5. I would hire a medium and ask her to have an interview with the author. A little bit of special effects will do the trick.


  6. Hello Jeremy,
    Break a leg with your show in London. Its success is important to us because you’re doing it here, in Tel Aviv right after 🙂
    As regards my talks for 2012 I’ve recently rolled out a new workshop for teachers entitled… What the Dickens! (yes, exactly as the title of your post). It involves video (2 snippets from Oliver Twist), a webquest and generally a lot of commotion and am quite proud of it actually even though literature is generally not my thing. I’ve been giving this workshop here and there as a build up to the signature Dickens event featuring Jeremy and Steve Bingham in February. Can’t wait!

    • Hello Leo,

      thanks so much for coming along to the blog.

      I am longing to hear more about your workshop. See it, maybe? I am sure it’s wonderful.

      s for us (myself and Steve) we are in the final stages of getting the show ready. It’s very exciting and pretty scary. I hope it’s going to come out really well.

      See you in February!


  7. Hi Jeremy! A pleasure to see you as always and to hear you speak so passionately!

    For me it was sad that the debate/panel discussion could not have gone on long into the night – because it certainly COULD have done…

    So here’s a point I’d like to pick you up on, as there was not the time… at the time… you mentioned in your answer to a question during the panel discussion that you weren’t “sold” on the idea that students can get necessarily more involved in Dogme teaching than they could with a coursebook.

    Well I’m very much sold on the idea!

    Allowing them to let their lives into the classroom has proved to be a roaring success for my students – yes maybe one can tailor the content of the coursebook to suit the lesson but why should we have to??

    I think the problem is that we have always learnt to teach with a coursebook with no reference on CELTA/whatever else to using a different style of teaching that embraces the students lives.

    I don’t see this as something to be shouted down, but something to be embraced and cherished. My students tend to agree. 🙂

    • Hi Alastair,

      it was great to see you in Greenwich, and I am aware, because of the many comments I heard and that people made, that your ‘Dogme’ session at the conference was a real success. I am sorry i was not there. I would have come like a shot of course.

      I don’t think there’s much more I can or should say about unplugged teaching – and by the way I apologise for mixing in Dogme with Dickens in this post (though there may be connections I haven’t quite been clever enough to make!) – because I’ve been giving my opinion for what seems like, well for ever.

      So I’ll just make a few comments:

      1 I have no doubt that you had a ‘roaring success’ with your lessons. Nor am I against (for a single second) the idea that it is good to get students to bring ‘themselves’ into the classroom. I would go further and say (as I said to Luke and to Chia on the panel at the IHWO DOS conference) that I would be really happy to have you as a teacher because your enthusiasm and passion for the way you are teaching right now would be infectious. Without that passion we, as teachers, are not up to much.

      2 I would just remind you of the comment at the end of the panel. Chia had said that there had been better inter-student conversations in her Dogme lessons than there had ever been in her coursebook lessons. This was instantly countered by someone saying that some of the best conversations in HER lessons (both as a learner and a teacher, she said) had been when students were discussing stuff from the coursebook. Who do I believe? Her or Chia? Well, of course, the answer is BOTH.

      3 My comment – that you mention – needs to come with emphasis attached: it is that I am not “sold” on the idea that students can get NECESSARILY more involved in Dogme teaching than they could with a coursebook. To make the claim (that Dogme always wins here) you (= people who ARE sold on Dogme) have to be able to get into the heads of your students and say with absolute confidence that Dogme is the best for all. I don’t think you can say that!

      My own preference is for a range of teaching inputs to provoke and engage students, allowing them as much ‘bringing in’ of themselves as they would wish – and which are, in the teacher’s experienced opinion, appropriate in the circumstances.

      That’ll do.

      I think your students are lucky!


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  9. Every time I read about such events like e.g. Ch. Dickens’ 200th anniversary of the birth or anything with the guests like you I am jealous that it cannot happen in a small town like mine. Be our guest one day 🙂 techers from north -east of Poland, make it happen 🙂

  10. Hello!
    I am Elena
    I live in Russia.
    I’ve recently watched your presentation. I really enjoyed this one. Many thanks.
    I also liked the music accomp.

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