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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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9. Aims and Approaches of Silent Way Teachers


The previous chapter showed that Gattegno’s concepts of the self and of awareness were central to the ways in which the Silent Way teachers structured their lessons. This chapter will report data that refer to other concepts of Gattegno’s model and will show how the Silent Way teachers made sense of them. It attempts to clarify what the teachers aimed to achieve and which strategies they used to pursue these aims.

In certain sections the teachers will be dealt with individually to give them the opportunity to voice their perspectives on teaching. Although the focus is on the teachers’ aims, strategies and views, the students’ reactions to these will also play a large role in this section to show possible similarities and contrasts. The next section introduces this chapter by presenting the main teaching aims the Silent Way teachers pursued.

9.1. Aims of Silent Way Teachers

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