Sie sind auf Seite 1von 11










The silent way(SW), a

method of language

teaching, originated in the

early 1970s and introduced

by Caleb Gattegno, who, a

Europe educator, is well

known for the use of

coloured sticks called

Cuisenaire rods and for his approach to the teaching of initial reading in which sounds are

taught by colours.

Basic Premises for SW

The method is based on the premise that teacher should be silent as much as

possible and the learners should be encouraged to produce language as much as

The SW assumes that learners work with resources and nothing else, as they are

solely responsible for what they 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 objects.
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.
The Silent Way student is expected to become independent, autonomous, and

The Silent Way student

Pedagogical materials that are both effective and fun to use:

1. Word Chart
Wall charts on which the words are written with the

same colour code as the rectangle chart. These charts

display the structural vocabulary of the language: about

500 words. The colour code means that languages as

different as Japanese and Russian, which use signs

unfamiliar to the learner, can be immediately read and

pronounced correctly.

2. The Sound / Colour Rectangle Chart

A wall chart made up of different coloured rectangles; each colour represents a

phoneme (sound) of the language,

enabling learners to work on fine

distinctions in the phonetics and

prosody of the language, both on the

level of production and of listening and

3. The Fidel
These show all the possible spellings for each phoneme and which also use the same

colour code as the rectangle chart. The Fidel is particularly useful for languages

such as English and French, which have complex and irregular spellings.

4. Cuisenaire Rod
Rods are used to create clear and

visible situations that enable

students to understand how a given

concept is expressed in the

language. Also, professor and

students can give them meaning of

words, numbers or colours, and

they can represent people and

objects in order to teach vocabulary

and grammar structure.

5. A pointer

The teacher or the learner can show a word or a sentence while

maintaining the


characteristic of

language - its


The pointer creates the dynamic of the language by introducing the element of time in

relation to the different charts, which are in themselves, static.

The use of the pointer is one of the ways in which the teacher calls on the learners to use

their mental powers.

Objectives of Learning
The general goal set for language learning is near-native fluency in the target

language, and correct pronunciation and mastery of the prosodic elements of the

target language are emphasized.

The teacher should give them only what they absolutely need to promote their

They become independent by relying on themselves.

Learner roles

Learners are expected to develop independence, autonomy, and responsibility.

The autonomous learner chooses proper expressions in a given set of circumstances

and situations.
The absence of correction and repeated modelling from the teacher requires the

students to develop "inner criteria" and to correct themselves.

Learners have only themselves as individuals and the group to rely on, and so must

learn to work cooperatively rather than competitively.

A learner also must be a teacher, a student, part of a support system, a problem

solver, and a self-evaluator.

Teacher roles

The teacher is a technician or an engineer who facilitates learning.

The teacher's role is one of neutral observer, neither praise nor criticize, merely

looks for continued improvement.

The teacher is silent. The teacher's presence in the classroom is limited to providing

a model of the language that the students are going to work on.
Stevick defines the Silent Way teacher's tasks as
to teach: the presentation of an item once, typically using nonverbal clues to get

across meanings
to test: elicitation and shaping of student production is done in as silent a way as

to get out of the way: the teacher silently monitors learners' interactions with each

other and may even leave the room while learners struggle with their new linguistic

The teacher is responsible for creating an environment that encourages student risk

taking and that facilitates learning.

The teacher uses gestures, charts, and manipulates to elicit and shape student

responses and so must be both facile and creative.

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.
Teachers are responsible for designing teaching sequences and creating individual

lessons and lesson elements.

It is important for teacher-defined learning goals that are clear and attainable.

The role of instructional materials

The materials are used to illustrate the relationships between sound and meaning in

the target language.

The materials are designed for manipulation by the students and the teacher,

independently and cooperatively, in promoting language learning by direct

The number of languages and contain symbols in the target language for all the

vowel and consonant sounds of the language.

The symbols are colour coded according to pronunciation; thus, if a language

possesses two different symbols for the same sound, they will be coloured alike.
The coloured Cuisenaire rods are used to directly link words and structures with

their meanings in the target language, thereby avoiding translation into the native

The rods may be used for naming colours, 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.

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, the vocabulary charts.

Other materials: books and worksheets for practicing reading and writing skills,

picture books, tapes; videotapes, films, and visual aids.

Procedure of Learning

The first part of the lesson focuses on pronunciation.

If a response is incorrect, the teacher will attempt to reshape the utterance or have

another student present the correct model.

After practice with the sounds of the language, sentence patterns, structure, and

vocabulary are practiced.


The actual practices of the Silent Way are much less revolutionary than might be

Working from what is a rather traditional structural and lexical syllabus, the method

exemplifies many of the features that characterize more traditional methods, such as

Situational Language Teaching and Audiolingualism.

With a strong focus on accurate repetition of sentences modelled initially by the

teacher and a movement through guided elicitation exercises to freer


Young, R. (2000). The Silent Way. Language Teaching. Retrieved from