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Integration of the Self and Awareness (ISA) in Learning and Teaching

A case study of French adult students learning English the Silent Way

Patricia Benstein

The successful acquisition of a second or foreign language requires focus, motivation, and positive feedback. This case study of French adult students of English illustrates that Gattegno’s Silent Way is more than a teaching methodology. It is a science of education that integrates the self and awareness in the learning and teaching processes. This integration facilitates the personal evolution of Gattegno’s ‘pre-human’ to the ‘universal human’ who is permanently aware of his/her awareness. The resulting experience of ‘flow’ leads to a positive feedback loop that in turn contributes to the student’s enjoyment of acquiring a second language.

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5. The Silent Way and Information Processing Theory


Although the Silent Way is unique in the way it incorporates understanding of the learning process, it does possess characteristics in common with the information processing model of language learning. In the following section the main tenets of Information Processing Theory will be delineated to enable the reader to appreciate the common links with Gattegno’s model. These links will be explored under various topics. This section concludes by indicating the limitations of the comparison between the Silent Way and Information Processing Theory.

5.1. Information Processing Theory

Information Processing Theory mainly describes the processes of human problem solving. It posits that:

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