The Silent Way: Method of Language Learning by Caleb Gattegno MARYAM BASHIR B.S (English) AWKUM
Introduction The silent way (SW), a method of language teaching, originated in the early 1970s and introduced by Caleb Gattegno in his book:Teaching Foreign Language in School.
Theoretical background Challenge Audio-lingual method: students are unable to transfer habits formed in the classroom to communicate outside of it. Language must not be considered a product of habit formation, but rule formation. Language acquisition must be a procedure of student using their own cognition, to discover the rules of the language they are acquiring.
Learning Theory: Cognitive approach rather than responding to stimuli. Language learning has a sequence from the known to un known. Student induce the rules from examples and the language they are exposed to, therefore learning is inductive.
Basic Principles: Teaching should be subordinated to learning. Emphasizes the autonomy of the learners. Students are encouraged to have an active role in learning the language. Pronunciation is seen as fundamental. Uses a structural syllabus but implicitly. Translation and rote repetition are avoided.
Silence Silence is use as a tool. To focus student’s attention. To encourage them to correct their own errors. Shhhh!
Teacher are still active: Mouthing words Using hand gestures Encourage students to help their peers.
Objectives Near native like fluency in the target language. Correct pronunciation. Providing the learners with a basic practical knowledge of the grammar.
SYLLABUS Beginning with student’s knowledge. Developing syllabus from easy to complex.
Evaluation Teacher may never give a formal test. Teacher assesses student’s learning all the time. Continuous monitoring by the teacher is essential.
Error correction. Errors are natural, so Peers correction unavoidable. Self-correction is necessary for the students to compare their own production with their developing inner criteria. Peer correction is also very important, but it should be in a co- operative manner.
Materials Cuisenaire rods: Which can be used for anything from introducing simple commands to representing objects such as describing any room setting.
What is the Silent Way? It is a method of language teaching, to enable students to become independent, autonomous and responsible learners. Though silent most of the time, the teacher plays a crucial role. The teacher is there at every moment, speaking only when necessary but listening very intently. The teacher acts as the guarantor, safeguarding the accuracy of the language (pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax).
Criticism Student cannot understand what teacher mean totally. Student’s learning results are slower. Materials can cost a lot of time and money.