Tell me and I forget
Teach me and I remember
Involve me and I learn
Silent Way and its Efficacy on Students’ Critical Thinking
Teaching languages silently, teaching without words, seems to be an insoluble paradox which is contained in the name of the method under question in this paper: The Silent Way. At the first glance, it seems as if teaching languages, structural systems based on phonemes and their combination, could never be done silently. For Caleb Gattegno, however, this paradox does not seem to exist at all. It was him who developed this method in the late 1970s. Usually, methods can be seen as sets of techniques which are used by teachers to convey a foreign language. They are supposed to be linked to linguistic as well as pedagogical assumptions. For each teaching situation, methods entail assumptions about the limitation or restriction of knowledge to be transmitted, the staging of this transmission, the way of its presentation and finally the testing of transmitted knowledge (Oxford:Blackwell 1998). In the course of this paper, some of these aspects will be examined with regard to the Silent Way. The basis for the Silent Way, however, is to be seen in the Cognitive Approach. This approach arose in the early 1970s out of an academic quarrel about the nature of the learning process: Noam Chomsky’s idea of a Language Acquisition Device consisting of principles and parameters which enable the learner to acquire languages in a deductive and cognitive way on the basis of a Universal Grammar questioned the behaviourist model. As a matter of fact, this paper will not be concerned with the whole of the Cognitive Approach and other methods linked to it. It will be focused on the Silent Way itself and its efficacy in teaching vocabulary and grammar to primary students while developing their critical thinking . It will emphasize that the use of visual devices will serve as an associative mediators...