Further thoughts on the Silent Way
OK, this is mainly an opportunity for me to organise my thoughts in preparation for a conversation I’m going to have soon with my boss about teaching YLs using the Silent Way. I’m thinking it would be feasible with a group of students who are aged 8 and above, as they would need to be fairly confident at reading, especially at reading without using Spanish pronunciation. So, here are some of my thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of using this technique with this age group…
It maximises STT (though you could argue that it’s not natural STT)
It gives students more responsibility amongst their peers
I’m interested to see what effect it would have on discipline – the optimist in me thinks it could solve a range of problems, the realist in me thinks it could cause others
Systems would need to be explained at the start (e.g. I clap once for everyone to repeat, twice when I nominate a student, three times to get everyone’s attention)
It could minimise L1 in the classroom (I have a bad habit of responding in English when students speak to me in Spanish – which I would be a lot less likely to do using the Silent Way)
Parents may not be happy that their child’s teacher doesn’t speak
The systems may be difficult to implement and maintain
Natural intonation could be difficult when words are being spoken individually
I think it would involve a significant amount more planning on a daily basis – you would have to think carefully about the vocabulary which could come up that lesson and have it prepared in advance to save writing words on the board all the time and interrupting the flow of the lesson
A slower pace in lessons – though perhaps this isn’t a bad thing
Can anyone think of any others?
I have used a kind of silent way once or twice as a “shock” lesson – if ever you need a quiet lesson it’s ideal! How many times have we tried to quieten the class by raising our voices in vain? A silent teacher generally results in a much quieter class – they have to pay a lot more attention to visual clues and written instructions and without even realising it they end up working quietly.
I know this isn’t really the Silent Way, but it’s a good technique to try out occasionally!