ESL Term:

Silent Way

ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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Silent Way: A designer method whereby the teacher remains mostly silent to encourage students to solve their own problems. Originated by Caleb Gattegno in the 70s, this method was meant to fascillitate learning through discovery. Students were given cuisenaire rods and used these colored rods to figure out the patterns of language based on a few examples given by the teacher. However, The language taught is structural. And hence, the main criticism is that it lacks meaningful communication.  As well, it is difficult to do beyond the simplest early stages of language. But on the other hand, learning language through problem solving remained a valuable technique in later  task-based language teaching.