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THE SILENT WAY (SW) (Caleb Gattegno)

THE SILENT WAY (SW) (Caleb Gattegno)

      1. Learning Theory: Cognitive Psychology is the basis. Language learning is not habit formation. It is rule formation. Language learning has a sequence from the known to the unknown. Students induce the rules from examples and the languages they are exposed to, therefore learning is inductive
      2. Language Theory: Languages of the world share a number of features (e.g. every language uses subject, object; every language has adjective, adverb, verb …etc.) However each language is unique. Language is for self expression (to express thoughts, perceptions, ideas and feelings). “Cognitive Coding” helps learners learn the language. “Colour rods” and “Fidel Chart” are used for cognitive coding.
      3. Culture: Culture is an inseparable part of language. Language reflects culture. Everyday life, art, literature. etc. should be learnt.
      4. Teachers’ Role: The teacher is a technician or an engineer who facilitates learning. Only the learner can do learning. The teacher is aware of what the students already know and he/she can decide the next step. The teacher is silent. Silence is a tool because teacher’s silence gives the responsibility to the student. Besides teacher’s silence helps students monitor themselves and improve their own inner criteria.
      5. Students’ Role: Students should make use of what they already know. They are responsible for
        their own learning. They actively take part in exploring the language. The teacher works with the students and the students work on the language. St-st interaction is important. Sts can learn from each other.
      6. Interactions: The teacher is silent in “T-st” interactions. St-st interactions are also possible because students can learn from each other.
      7. Vocabulary Teaching: Vocabulary is taught by means of visual aids and word-charts. Vocabulary is always recycled by means of word-charts. Vocabulary is restricted at the beginning.
      8. Grammar Teaching: There is a focus on the structures of the language although explicit grammar rules are never given.
      9. Materials: Sound Colour Charts (For teaching pronunciation; one colour represents one sound), Colour Rods (for cognitive coding of grammatical patterns), 8 Fidel Charts (used for sound spelling association.
      10. Syllabus: There is no linear structural syllabus. The teacher starts with what students already know, and builds from one structure to the next. The syllabus develops according to the students’ learning needs.
      11. Role of L1: L1 can be used to give instructions when necessary. Meaning is made clear by focusing the student’s perceptions, not by translation. During feedback sessions L1 be used at beginning levels. L1 can be exploited. For example, similar sounds in L1 and L2 can be used to make students aware of phonological similarities.
      12. Evaluation: The teacher may never give a formal test. He/she assesses students’ learning all the time. Continuous monitoring by the teacher is essential.
      13. Goals and Objectives: Students should be able to use the target language for self expression (to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas). To help students improve their inner criteria for correctness. Students should rely on themselves to be able to use the target language.
      14. Error Correction: Errors are natural and inevitable. The teacher uses students’ errors to decide where further work is necessary. Self correction is necessary for the students to compare their own production with their developing inner criteria. If students cannot self-correct, the teacher supplies the correct language but only as a last resort. Peer correction is also very common, but it should be in a co-operative manner.
      15. Student’s Feelings: Students’ negative feelings are treated by the teacher. During feedback sessions, students can express their feelings like their fears, what they think about classes, and learning a foreign language, their needs and wants. Students are encouraged to co-operate with one another in order to create a relaxed and enjoyable classroom atmosphere.
      16. Techniques
        Teaching pronunciation with “

sound colour

        Cognitive coding with colour rods.
        Peer correction to improve co-operative manner.
        Self correction gestures


      ‘s Silence
      Structured feedback: Students are invited to talk about the day’s instruction (what they havelearnt that day during classes). Students learn to take responsibility for their own learning by becoming aware of themselves, and by controlling and applying their own learning strategies.
      Fidel Charts: Used to teach sound spelling association.
      Word Charts: Used to teach and recycle vocabulary. The words are written in different


                 colours so that students can learn basic pronunciation patterns.

17.Skills: Pronunciation is emphasised at the very beginning. It is important that students acquire the melody of the language. All four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening)  are worked on from the beginning.

English: A one-on-one Spanish lesson taught us...
English: A one-on-one Spanish lesson taught using the Silent Way, in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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