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Tell me and I forget

Teach me and I remember

Involve me and I learn

Benjamin Franklin
Created by Caleb Gattegno in 1963.
[Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way]
Teachers should be as silent as possible during a class
but learners should be encouraged to speak as much as
Basic Premises for SW

Teacher should be as silent as much as possible and the learners

should be encouraged to produce language as much as possible
The SW assumes that learners work with resources and nothing else,
as they are solely responsible for what they have learn
Teaching should be subordinated to learning
Silence makes students to concentrate on what is to be learned
Learning Hypotheses

Learning is facilitated if the learner discovers or creates

rather than remembers and repeats what is to be learned
Learning is facilitated by accompanying (mediating) physical
Learning is facilitated by problem solving involving the
material to be learned
Theory of Learning

A successful learning involves commitment of the self to

language acquisition through the use of silent awareness
and then active trial
Silent way learners acquire inner criteria
Silent way students are expected to become independent,
autonomous and responsible
Silent Way
3 Basic Principles
3 Basic Principles

Silent Way

The learner
needs to
discover or
3 Basic Principles

Silent Way
Learning is

made easier by
the use of
physical objects.
3 Basic Principles

Silent Way
Learning is

made easier by
using the target
3 Basic Principles

Silent Way The teacher shows the

learners a small red
Cuisenaire rod and a bigger
blue one and says The blue

one is bigger than the red
one'. The learners repeat
this. The teacher then
substitutes the rods to
produce other models, and
finally encourages the
learners to produce their own
3 Basic Principles

Silent Way
Areas of target language
where Cuisenaire rods can be
useful include word

boundaries, contracted forms,
prepositions, word order and
word stress. Learners can use
the rods to first represent and
then to manipulate language.
Silent Way
Silent Way
Silent Way
Advantages &
Advantages & Disadvantages

Silent Way
Silent Way fosters:

1. creativity,
2. discovery,
3. increase in intelligent potency and long
term memory.

The indirect role of the teacher highlights the

importance and the centrality of the learner who is
responsible in figuring out and testing the
hypotheses about how language works. In other
words teaching is subordinated to learning.
Advantages & Disadvantages

Silent Way
The Silent Way is often criticized of being a harsh

1. The learner works in isolation
and communication is lacking badly in a Silent
Way classroom.
2. With minimum help on the part of the teacher,
the Silent Way method may put the learning itself
at stake.
3. The material ( the rods and the charts) used in
this method will certainly fail to introduce all
aspects of language. Other materials will have to
be introduced.
Silent Way References

British Council (2011). Teaching English: Silent Way. Accessed

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/silent-way on 16
January 2017

Gattegno, Caleb (1963). Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools:

The Silent Way (1st ed.). Reading, UK: Educational Explorers.
Retrieved October 10, 2011.

Bruner, J. (1966). Toward a Theory of Instruction. Cambridge, MA:

Harvard University Press.