The Silent Way (SW) is a pedagogical approach to teaching foreign languages invented by Caleb Gattegno in the late 1950s. The language teacher using this approach strives to “subordinate teaching to learning” by reducing the teacher's talking time and increasing students’ voice because the teacher is silent (but not mute!) most of the time and therefore gives more space for the students to express themselves.

The silence of the teacher is one of the main characteristics of this approach but a SW teacher can also speak a lot in class. The ultimate goal of any SW teacher is to not hinder the students’ expression and to “let them learn”. The teacher focuses on students’ learning rather than teaching. This is done by avoiding explaining and instead, immersing students in situations that are multimodal (visible and tangible) and where the meaning can be naturally constructed via investigations, experiences, and explorations (following the principles of an inquiry-based approach). When coupled with a concept-driven approach, the SW brings in all the ingredients for students to direct their learning, think at deep and conceptual levels, and enjoy the learning process made of trials and errors.

The nature of the SW approach is inquiry-based and learning-focused, it promotes the IB profile and the Approaches to Learning and Teaching. Teachers who have had contact with this pedagogy find it in agreement with the IB framework as it makes the students’ thought processes visible. This approach can solve problems of student disengagement as well as support variability with multi-level and heterogeneous groups. In addition, it promotes the growth of more inclusive classrooms where differentiation and personalization are constantly part of the classroom atmosphere and where students are leaders in their journey of discovery.

In this course, we will apply this approach to teaching French as a Foreign Language (or additional/second language, i.e.language acquisition).
Session 1 - Why use the Silent Way?
  • Key concepts of the SW approach and quick history
  • Myth-busting and problems we try to solve with the SW
  • Connections to practices/reflections and discussions
Session 2 - What is the Silent Way approach?
Connections between the SW and an inquiry-based and concept-driven approach
  • What does it look like, sound like and feel like in the classroom (examples in PYP, MYP and DP)
  • Case study examination: how might you teach a specific concept using the SW?
  • Reflection into action
Session 3 - How might we implement the Silent Way approach?
The role of feedback
  • Examining assessment examples in French
  • Planning experiences: How might we trigger learning with intentional learning designs?
  • Access examples and ideas to structure your units
Session 4 - What might be out main takeaways and where do we go from there?
  • Learnings from your personal explorations and your trials and errors with students
  • Discussion on challenges and opportunities
  • Plan of action to refine skills and approaches for learning impact
Participants will:
  • Understand the Silent Way approach and its essential elements
  • Analyze their own practices against the key elements of the SW approach
  • Recognize the connections to an inquiry-based and concept-driven approach (such as the IB: PYP, MYP, DP)
  • Practice using Silent Way tools and/or processes for making learning situations that are visible and tangible
  • Infuse autonomy-supportive feedback into your teaching
  • Use protocols to design assessments and learning experiences to “let learn”
  • Reflect into planning by engaging in ‘post-parations’
Target Audience:
Grade 3-12 French language teachers. Other foreign language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers would also benefit from the pedagogical framework. The workshop will be facilitated in English for the presentation part and in French for the practical part.
Workshop Platform: ZOOM
Fanny Passeport
Fanny Passeport is the Founder of No Borders Learning which serves PK-12 schools, educators, and families in co-constructing healthy learning ecosystems that attend to the heart, exercise the mind, and engage the willpower. She is also a postgraduate student at the University of Dundee and has +11 years of experience in PK-12 international schools. Fanny is currently working as an Education Development Officer with the radical innovation unit called ErasmusX (Erasmus University Rotterdam). She is a published author and an award-winning educator.

13th, 20th, 27th January & 3rd February 2024

Each session is for 2 hours.
London 8:00 am | Zurich 9:00 am | Dubai 12:00 pm | India 1:30 pm | Hong Kong 4:00 pm | Melbourne 7:00 pm

Please click here to check your time for the workshop
USD 400 Per Participant
INCLUDES: Certificate of Participation for 10 Professional Development Hours
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