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    • #9943
      Nicholas Northall

          Look at this doc to find a list of methods/approaches to choose from for this task. Focus on the four questions below and then post your answers.

          1. What principles underpin this approach?
          2. What happens in the classroom?
          3. What are the roles of the learners and the teacher?
          4. What might the strengths and weaknesses be?

          Make sure you come back to the forum to read your coursemates’ posts.

        • #54100
          Robert Dailey

              An approach that I´ve chosen to research is Suggestopedia This was developed by the Bulgarian psychologist Georgi Lozanov. The following information is taken mostly from Richards and Rodgers.

              1.     What principles underpin this approach?

              From a type of yoga, Lozanov borrowed and modified techniques for altering states and consciousness, concentration and rhythmic breathing. Music and musical rhythm are a key part of Suggestopedia Another key element is the notion taken from Soviet psychology that all students are capable of learning.

              The method emphasized memorization of vocabulary pairs and what we might today call “chunks” of language. (This is my interpretation of the phrase “whole meaningful texts”). As learner goals, the focus is on increased access to understanding and creative problem solving (which seems to me to be a very good thing!)

              2.     What happens in the classroom?

              A course has a pattern of presentation and performance.

              A dialogue with 150 vocabulary items and supported by music is the focus of a class. The dialogue is read three times and is then, is subsequent days, followed by “primary and secondary elaboration.” In primary elaboration there is imitation, questions and answers, and reading of the dialogue. In secondary elaboration students produce language based on the dialogue. A story or essay that parallels the dialogue is read and students talk.

              Imitation, questions and answer sessions, role plays, games, songs are all important in suggestopedia, but it´s the listening activities that made it (make it) very different from other methods. On the second reading of the text students relax in comfortable chairs, do breathing exercises and let the words wash over them. At this point, according to Lozanov, deep unconscious learning takes place.

              3.     What are the roles of the learners and the teacher?

              Learner: Total immersion in the procedure of the method. Learners must not try to analyze or consciously work out the material. Rather, the learner should maintain a pseudo- passive state while the music rolls over them. Learners are encouraged to adopt a different name and persona for the classes and experience “infantilization” by trusting fully in the teacher.

              Teacher: The role of the teacher is to “create situations in which the learner is most suggestable and then to present linguistic material in a way most likely to encourage positive reception and retention by the learners.” (Richards & Rodgers p323)


              4.     What might the strengths and weaknesses be?

              Strengths: As R&R say, focus on rhythm and intonation could be effective. Also ( my thoughts) … / Learners might enjoy the experience. / Use of music could relax students and or move them into a state of different “consciousness.” / The idea in Soviet psychology that all students are capable of learning must be a good one. / Working with language “chunks” is currently regarded as good practice. / Focus on increased access to understanding and creative problem solving must be a good thing.


              Weaknesses: Does it or did it work??!! /The notion that a learner should adopt a new persona in class and hand over all authority unquestionably to the teacher would most probably be frowned upon today / Students might not like the music or inclusion of it in classes.

            • #55379
              Manuel Flores Lasarte

                  Thanks Rob for getting the discussion started! You’ve certainly provided an excellent overview of the approach, clearly evaluating its strengths and its weaknesses. As you mention, some of the aspects are still relevant in our teaching today (e.g. creating a relaxed atmosphere for learners, focusing on chunks of language rather than individual words, work on intonation, etc.) although some other points seem less appropriate (e.g. handing over all authority unquestionably to the tutor…).

                  One point from Suggestopaedia that seems to be coming back is this idea of  being alert and conscious as there is now a lot of research being done on the role of mindfulness in the language classroom.

                • #56014

                      The Silent Way is a teaching method devised by Caleb Gattegno. As Robert, I mainly based my research on Richards&Rodgers.
                      1. What principles underpin this approach?
                      – L2 cannot be learned as L1. Therefore, L2 cannot be learned through a ‘natural” method but it requires an artificial, controlled, and structured method. This “artificial approach” is based on the principle that successful learning involves commitment of the self to language acquisition using silent awareness and then active trial.
                      – Silence is considered the best vehicle for learning, because in silence students concentrate on the task to be accomplished and develop awareness. As opposed to repetition which does not allow concentration and mental organization.
                      – The silent way is based on “discovery learning” as learning is facilitated if the learner discovers or creates rather than remembers and repeats what is to be learned; and “problem-solving” which must  involve the material to be learned.
                      – Learning is facilitated by accompanying physical objects as they create memorable images that are easy to recall.

                      2. What happens in the classroom?
                      Silent Way lessons follow a standard format. The first part of the lesson focuses on pronunciation, sounds, phrases or sentences depending on the level but always using the Fidel chart. After that, sentence patterns, structure and vocabulary are practised. The teacher models an utterance while creating a visual realization of it with coloured rods (e.g. the floor plan of a house in the video). After modelling the utterance the teacher will have a nominated student attempt to produce the utterance. If a response is incorrect the teacher will attempt to reshape the utterance or have another student present the correct model. There is an emphasis on working cooperatively and being able to accept to be corrected by another student (learn from each other).
                      When the structure is largely understood, the teacher will create a situation where the students can practice the structure through the manipulation of coloured Cuisenaire rods. The teacher will then nominate a student at a time and elicit variation on the structural theme (e.g. prepositions of place + rooms in the house + furniture in the video).

                      3. What are the roles of the learners and the teacher?
                      The teacher, quoting Stevick, a) teach (= presents an item once, typically using nonverbal clues to get across meanings); b) test students (= elicits and shapes student production); c) get out of the way (= silently monitors learners’ interactions with each other).
                      The learners “figure out” how language works, rely on their own knowledge, listen to the teacher carefully to reproduce the TL, interact with each other, use their imagination “to transform” the rods into the TL, “celebrate” silence as “thinking time”.

                      4. What might the strengths and weaknesses be?
                      – The Silent Way promotes “learning to learn” as it is based on developing awareness that proceeds from attention, production, self-correction and absorption. This process can be considered part of the set of study skills teachers aim to teach as well. Also, “attention” is another word for “noticing” which is an important aspect of learning.
                      – Pronunciation is regularly studied/ revised.
                      – The atmosphere in the classroom is peaceful and the students tend to be always alert.
                      – This method adopts a basically structural syllabus and thus language items are introduced according to their grammatical complexity, their relationship to what has been taught previously and the ease with which items can be presented visually.
                      – Perhaps the Silent Way relies too much on the students’ ability to discover and learn the systems of the language. For instance, the Fidel chart only represents graphemes and the teacher doesn’t give any explicit guidance/ rules on it. For instance, as it is showed in the video, when the students were practising pronunciation, it may not have been clear to some students why and when the article ‘the’ is pronounced /ðə/ or /ðɪ/. They just saw a different colour but the same letter ‘e’.
                      – A limit (which isn’t necessarily a weakness) is that this method was designed to only teach functional vocabulary/ grammar to give the learners a basic practical knowledge of grammar. Consequently, it can be used with low proficiency levels, and it is unlikely to be effective with language that is not functional or cannot be easily presented visually.



                      • #56923
                        Nicholas Northall

                            Hi Erica,

                            Thanks for sharing your summary of the silent way here. I always thought that the silent way, as you mention at the end, is best suited to lower-level learners. I also find that it puts too much pressure on learners to ‘figure out’ what is correct. Although I believe that learners should be allowed to work out things themselves and develop a sense of learner-autonomy, I think the silent way expects too much from learners: it kind of takes any responsibility away from the teacher. This I think might result in any forms of English (as you mention with your example of ‘the’) being accepted as correct – which ultimately could result in completely incomphrensible versions of English being accepted.



                        • #56031
                          Peter Wilson

                              Teaching Unplugged (Dogme)

                              What principles underpin this approach? / What happens in the classroom?

                              A teaching method where language is taught through conversation, without external input such as course book and technology. The lesson content is created by the students rather than pre-planned by the teacher. It’s based on the ‘Dogme ELT’ approach  by Scott Thornbury and focusses on ’emergent’ language. A key tenet of Dogme is that the learners’ experiences, beliefs, knowledge and so on
                              should be the content, rather than what’s on the page.

                              What are the roles of the learners and the teacher?

                              The students says what they want to say in the language they have and the teacher demonstrates and models the correct structures and lexis for this and extends  /develops this into a lesson with lots of Q & As to practise with. The students can choose a topic for focus in the lesson, discuss the topic in pairs. The teacher can monitor and make notes. The teacher also notes down the language that came up and can be used for the language focus part of the lesson on form, meaning and pronunciation. The teacher reconstructs the main language points onto the board. Elicit the language from students and write them on the board.

                              The teacher could focus on:

                              emergent language and speaking practice for the whole lesson
                              emergent language in controlled form, meaning pronunciation and practice
                              emergent language through an extension writing task


                              • The main focus is one hundred per cent on the students’ actual language needs
                              • You’re confident that the student knows exactly what the new language means as it is theirs and you’re absolutely sure you’ve just taught them something new as they definitely couldn’t say it before
                              • Everyone working together as a group with the teacher as facilitator and resource rather than director of the class
                              • Whole lessons can be planned anywhere, anytime; or planning can be done away with altogether
                              • You don’t need any equipment, course books or photocopies, which, of course, makes it very ecologically friendly too


                              • Student expectation may be let down without a syllabus or course plan
                              • Difficult to manage for less confident or experienced teacher
                              • Could be seen as old fashioned, does not use any technology
                              • What’s wrong with course book content?  – ” it is a fairly drastic extreme to dump materials and syllabus and wander
                                naked through the Dogme forest”


                              • #56943
                                Nicholas Northall

                                    Hi Peter,

                                    Thanks for sharing your summary of Dogme – I must admit I did laugh at the last line of your summary. And I do agree with it. I think Dogme has its place in a syllabus and can be used perhaps to supplement a coursebook, but I do think it has a few issues. The first as you mention is that a teacher needs to be both very confident and very experienced to implement this approach on a regular basis. I also think that if seems to focus on speaking and listening (and perhaps writing). If materials aren’t allowed (or aren’t encouraged), how do learners develop their reading skills?

                                    Many teachers completing DM2 tend to choose Dogme as the focus of their experimental lesson.



                                • #56773
                                  Aytaj Suleymanova

                                      Hi everyone!

                                      My research into demand high approach lead me to make such conclusions:

                                      What principles underpin this approach?

                                      This approach aims to push students and challenge them. Each student has their own needs and the level of the group is not homogenous. Differentiation is not the tasks themselves but the students’ responses. The teacher aims to generate responses from students that match their level and also challenges them to push forward. This means that the teacher needs to work at an appropriate pace, the pace which every student can follow not only the strongest ones. Expectations the teachers have should be high.

                                      What happens in the classroom?

                                      The classroom is a “learning-centered” environment where every learner could make a tangible improvement over the space of a lesson.

                                      What are the roles of the learners and the teacher?

                                      The teacher has a role of “an active interventionist teacher”. We may intervene where necessary and “teach” if need be. There is less obsession with “learner-centered” lessons so the teacher can purposefully teach the students.

                                      What might the strengths and weaknesses be?

                                      More ownership of the learning for the teacher

                                      The teacher is less constricted by the coursebook

                                      Spending less energy on tasks and games and focusing on the learning happening in the classroom

                                      Challenging the students may work well with some and increase their motivation



                                      Some students prefer slowly paced  learning and may be scared of higher expectations


                                      • #56965
                                        Nicholas Northall

                                            Hi Aytaj,

                                            Thanks for your summary of Demand High here. I went to a talk given by Jim Scrivener at the 2013 IATEFL conference in Liverpool when he first unleashed this approach on an unsuspecting audience (or so he thought!). I remember discussing with some colleagues afterwards that isn’t this what good teachers do anyway?

                                            I think the main weakness with this approach (as with Dogme) is that the teacher needs to be both very confident and very experienced (and quite skilled) to really push the learners to give more. And the teacher really needs to listen to the learners.  This is one of the main differences between a Delta (Module Two) lesson and a CELTA one: the teacher is expected to work with the learners’ emerging language by challenging them to push higher.



                                        • #56966
                                          Nicholas Northall

                                              Hi everyone,

                                              Thank you very much to those of you who have researched a method or approach and posted your findings here. It’s great to see that so many of you have engaged with this task and this is a great opportunity for us to learn from each other.

                                              Here we have some really useful, comprehensive overviews of Suggestopedia, The Silent Way, Dogme and Demand Higher. You have all done a great job of making it clear what the approach entails and what the strengths and limitations of it may be.

                                              It would be great to also have the other methods and approaches included here as well, so, if you haven’t carried out your piece of research, and shared your findings, yet, please do so.



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