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The silent way is a methodology of teaching language based on the idea that teachers should be as silent as possible during a class but learners should be encouraged to speak as much as possible. There are three basic principles:
- The learner needs to discover or create
- Learning is made easier by the use of physical objects such as Cuisenaire rods
- Learning is made easier by problem-solving using the target language
The teacher shows the learners a small red Cuisenaire rod and a bigger blue one and says ‘The blue one is bigger than the red one'. The learners repeat this. The teacher then substitutes the rods to produce other models, and finally encourages the learners to produce their own comparisons.
In the classroom
Areas of target language where Cuisenaire rods can be useful include word boundaries, contracted forms, prepositions, word order and word stress. Learners can use the rods to first represent and then to manipulate language.