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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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11. Discussion and Implications


Research aimed at understanding the underlying pedagogical principles of the Silent Way teaching and learning remains relatively scarce. However, in 2011 was Gattegno’s 100th anniversary, and a memoir was published that collected the experiences and impressions of 100 educators (Gattegno, 2011). MacGregor writes in his review of the book:

By the time of Gattegno’s death in 1988, his highly unique approaches and materials for teaching were being employed in more than 40 countries on six continents. His vast scientifically based inquiries had produced seminal books on the nature of learning itself. This collection of memoirs is a fitting tribute to his life and his methods, which are still resonating with the people who learned from him (MacGregor, 2011).

Thanks to the activities by Educational Solutions, various videos are now available on their YouTube channel that show Gattegno himself in action and offer insights into his pedagogy. For further information, the interested reader might like to consult this link:

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