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Engl. 4703 Chapter 5 "The Silent Way"

by: Stephanie Notetaker

Engl. 4703 Chapter 5 "The Silent Way" ENGL 4703

Marketplace > Arkansas Tech University > Foreign Language > ENGL 4703 > Engl 4703 Chapter 5 The Silent Way
Stephanie Notetaker
Arkansas Tech University
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Chapter 5 Notes
Teaching English as a Second Language
Dr. Stanley Lombardo
Class Notes
TESL, ESL., english




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Stephanie Notetaker on Tuesday March 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 4703 at Arkansas Tech University taught by Dr. Stanley Lombardo in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see Teaching English as a Second Language in Foreign Language at Arkansas Tech University.

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Date Created: 03/01/16
The Silent Way: Chapter 6  Chomsky maintains that language acquisition is not simply a matter of imitation or habit formation, as it has often been considered in the past, but a process of: o Rule formation: which the language learner undergoes without conscious effort.  This process is carried out by an innate language‐acquisition device(LAD)  Which is the birthright of every human being. o In fact this process is so “hardwired” into the human brain that, given normal intelligence, normal auditory and vocal apparatus, and normal exposure to a “language community”  It is impossible to prevent a child or adult from acquiring language.  This hypothesis of rule formation explains many “mistakes” that children and second‐language (L2) learners make, such as saying “runned” instead of “ran”or “hurted” instead of “hurt”: they have obviously internalized a rule and are using it consistently, even when the erratic English language does not follow it. o Hence, these are not actually mistakes, but indications that the Target Language (TL) learner’s LAD is functioning as intended.  Larsen‐Freenan mentions the Cognitive Code Approach to language teaching, o Which is based on the hypothesis that L2 learners are actively responsible for their own learning.  They certainly can be, as in the case of children, whose primary motivation for acquiring language is to manipulate adults.  In the absence of such motivation, however ‐‐as in the case of those lethargic, unmotivated students with whom all teachers are thoroughly familiar ‐‐the object the Cognitive‐Code Approach methods seems to be to trick, trap, or browbeat the students into taking a more active part in their own education.  The Silent Way:  Originator: Caleb Gattegno o A methodology of teaching language based on the idea that teachers should be as silent as possible during a class but learners should be encouraged to speak as much as possible. o Originated in the early 1970s and introduced by Caleb Gattegno, who, a Europe educator, is well known for the use of colored sticks called cuisenaire rods and for his approach to the teaching of initial reading in which sounds are taught by colors.  One of the basic principles of the Silent Way is “Teaching should be subordinated to learning.”  Silence makes students to concentrate on what is to be learned.  The Silent Way assumes that learners work with resources and nothing else, as they are solely responsible for what they learn.  This principle is all very well when all of the students in a classroom are highly motivated learners; for the less highly motivated, the Silent Way provides an excellent environment for catching a nap, texting on their cellphones, or daydreaming about their favorite reality shows.  Learning Hypotheses: o Learning is facilitated if the learner discovers or creates rather than remembers and repeats what is to be learned o Learning is facilitated by accompanying (mediating) physical objects o Learning is facilitated by problem solving involving the material to be learned.  The educational psychologist and philosopher Jerome Bruner distinguishes two traditions of teaching: 1. That which takes place in the expository mode: a. "Decisions covering the mode and pace and style of exposition are principally determined by the teacher as expositor; the student is the listener." 2. That which takes place in the hypothetical mode. a. "The teacher and the student are in a more cooperative position. The student is not a bench- bound listener, but is taking part in the "play the principal role in it"  The Silent Way belongs to the latter tradition, which views learning as a problem- solving, creative, discovering activity, in which the learner is a principal actor rather than a bench-bound listener. o Bruner discusses the benefits derived from "discovery learning" under four headings:  the increase in intellectual potency  the shift from extrinsic to intrinsic rewards  the learning of heuristics by discovering  the aid to conserving memory  Cuisenaire rods:  The rods and the coded-coded pronunciation charts (called Fidel charts) provide physical foci for student learning and also create memorable images to facilitate student recall. In psychological terms, these visual devices serve as associative mediators for student learning and recall. o Theory of Learning: Student Roles o A successful learning involves commitment of the self to language acquisition through the use of silent awareness and then active trial. o Silent Way learners acquire “inner criteria”. o The Silent Way student is expected to become independent, autonomous and responsible.  The learner must gain a "feel" for this aspect of the target language as soon as possible, though how the learner is to do this is not altogether clear.  Learners exert a strong influence over each other's learning and, to a lesser degree, over the linguistic content taught.  They are expected to interact with each other and suggest alternatives to each other.  Learners have only themselves as individuals and the group to rely on, and so must learn to work cooperatively rather than competitively.  They need to feel comfortable both correcting each other and being corrected by each other. o In order to be productive members of the learning group, learners-thus have to play varying roles. o At times one is an independent individual, at other times a group member. o A learner also must be a teacher, a student, part of a support system, a problem solver, and a self-evaluator. o And it is the student who is usually expected to decide on what role is most appropriate to a given situation.  Teacher Roles: o Teacher silence is, perhaps, the unique and, for many traditionally trained language teachers, the most demanding aspect of the Silent Way. o Teachers are exhorted to resist their long standing commitment to model, remodel, assist, and direct desired student responses, and Silent Way teachers have remarked upon the arduousness of self-restraint to which early expedience of the Silent Way has subjected them.  Gattegno talks of subordinating "teaching to learning," but that is not to suggest that the teacher's role in Silent Way is not critical and demanding.  Gattegno anticipates that using the Silent Way would require most teachers to change their perception of their role.  Silent Way teacher's tasks are: o to teach, o to test, o and to get out of the way  Although this may not seem to constitute a radical alternative to standard teaching practice, the details of the steps the teacher is expected to follow are unique to the Silent Way. o By "teaching" is meant the presentation of an item once, typically using nonverbal clues to get across meanings. o Testing follows immediately and might better be termed elicitation and shaping of student production, which, again, is done in as silent a way as possible. o Finally, the teacher silently monitors learners' interactions with each other and may even leave the room while learners struggle with their new linguistic tools and "pay their ogdens." o For the most part, Silent Way teacher's manuals are unavailable, and teachers are responsible for designing teaching sequences and creating individual lessons and lesson elements. o Gattegno emphasizes the importance of teacher-defined learning goals that are clear and attainable. o Sequence and timing in Silent Way classes are more important than in many kinds of language teaching classes, and the teachers' sensitivity and management of them is critical.  More generally, the teacher is responsible for creating an environment that encourages student risk taking and that facilitates learning.  This is not to say that the Silent Way teacher becomes "one of the group."  In fact, observers have noted that Silent Way teachers often appear aloof or even gruff with their students.  The teacher's role is one of neutral observer, neither elated by correct performance nor discouraged by error. o Students are expected to come to see supportive but emotionally uninvolved.  The teacher uses gestures, charts, and manipulates in order to elicit and shape student responses and so must be both facile and creative as a pantomimist and puppeteer. o In sum, the Silent way teacher, like the complete dramatist, writes the script, chooses the props, sets the mood, models the action, designates the players, and is critic for the performance.  The Role of Instructional Materials: o The Silent Way is perhaps as well known for the unique nature of its teaching materials as for the silence of its teachers. o The materials consist mainly of:  a set of colored rods  Color-coded pronunciation and vocabulary wall charts  a pointer  and reading/writing exercises  All of which are used to illustrate the relationships between sound and meaning in the target language.  The materials are designed for manipulation by the students as well as by the teacher, independently and cooperatively, in promoting language learning by direct association. o The number of languages and contain symbols in the target language for all of the vowel and consonant sounds of the language. o The symbols are color-coded according to pronunciation; thus, if a language possesses two different symbols for the same sound, they will be colored alike.  Classes often begin by using Fidel charts in the native language, color coded in an analogous manner, so that students learn to pair a sound with its associated color. o There may be from one to eight of such charts, depending upon the language. o The teacher uses the pointer to indicate a sound symbol for the students to produce. o Where native-language Fidels are used, the teacher will point to a symbol on one chart and then to its analogue on the Fidel in the other language. o In the absence of native-language charts, or when introducing a sound not present in the native language, the teacher will give one clear, audible model after indicating the proper Fidel symbol in the target language. o The charts are hung on the wall and serve to aid in remembering pronunciation and in building new words by sounding out sequences of symbols as they are pointed to by the teacher or student.  Just as the Fidel charts are used to visually illustrate pronunciation, the colored cuisenaire rods are used to directly link words and structures with their meanings in the target language, thereby avoiding translation into the native language. o The rods vary in length from one to ten centimeters, and each length has a specific color. o The rods may be used for naming colors, for size comparisons, to represent people build floor plans, constitute a road map, and so on.  Use of the rods is intended to promote inventiveness, creativity, and interest in forming communicative utterances on the part of the students, as they move from simple to more complex structures.  Gattegno and his proponents believe that the range of structures that can be illustrated and learned through skillful use of the rods is as limitless as the human imagination.  When the teacher or student has difficulty expressing a desired word or concept, the rods can be supplemented by referring to the Fidel charts, or to the third major visual aid used in the Silent Way: o The vocabulary charts.  The vocabulary or word charts are likewise color coded, although the colors of the symbols will not correspond to the phonetics of the Fidels, but rather to conceptual groupings of words.  There are typically twelve such charts containing 500 to 800 words in the native language and script. o These words are selected according to their ease of application in teaching, their relative place in the "functional" or "luxury" vocabulary, their flexibility in terms of generalization and use with other words, and their importance in illustrating basic grammatical structures. o The content of word charts will vary from language to language, but the general content of the vocabulary charts is mentioned below: Chart 1: the word rod, colours of the rods, plural markers, simple im¬perative verbs, personal pronouns, some adjectives and question words Charts 2, 3: remaining pronouns, words for "here" and "there," of, for, and name Chart 4: numbers Charts 5, 6: words illustrating size, space, and temporal relationships, as well as some concepts difficult to illustrate with rods, such as order, causality, condition, similarity and difference Chart 7: words that qualify, such as adverbs Charts 8, 9: verbs, with cultural references where possible Chart 10: family relationships Charts 11, 12: words expressing time, calendar elements, seasons, days, week, month, year, etc.  Other materials that may be used include: o books o worksheets for practicing reading and writing skills o picture books o tapes o videotapes, films, and other visual aids o Reading and writing are sometimes taught from the beginning; and students are given assignments to do outside the classroom at their own pace.  These materials are of secondary importance, and are used to supplement the classroom use of rods and charts.  Choice and implementation depends upon need as assessed by teachers and/or students.


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