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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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Part One


Part one of this book comprises five chapters. Chapter one introduces the main topics and sets the scene for the study. Chapter two reviews the literature on the Silent Way and provides the definition of the Silent Way used in the present study. Chapter three describes the theoretical model suggested by Caleb Gattegno that serves as a background for the Silent Way. It presents Gattegno’s model of evolution and his “science of education”. This chapter provides the reader with information necessary for a deeper understanding of the Silent Way than is generally displayed by the reviewers mentioned in chapter one. The next two chapters locate the Silent Way within two different areas of research on learning. Chapter four reviews the literature on second language acquisition in order to place the Silent Way within this fairly new area of research. Chapter five locates the Silent Way within one branch of cognitive psychology, that of the information processing perspective of learning with a special emphasis on language learning.

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