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Report 17 years ago
[This is a repost of my answer to this same question on the NG. If
you must ask exactly the same question in more than one group, it is best to cross-post. This is a
reasonable type of cross-post.]

"Basil Fawlty" <[email protected]> burbled news:[email protected]:

[q1]> I am seeking an opinion on the Callan method. This method of teaching English as a foreign[/q1]
[q1]> language is extremely popular in Poland now. Is it popular in your country? Is it really[/q1]
[q1]> effective? Most of the schools using this method guarantee passing FCE after the course. Do you[/q1]
[q1]> think that this method is good to learn/teach English on the post-FCE level? Or, do you think that[/q1]
[q1]> Callan is not worth your while at all? If you know Callan School in London, what is your opinion[/q1]
[q1]> about it? Is it really so famous?[/q1]

I've never heard of this method, but reading through its advertising material on the Net,

it looks like something I'd like to check out, simply because it recognizes a couple of important
principles that I have also recognized based on my years of teaching experience:

1. The more listening and speaking the student does, the faster the student's progress;

2. It is necessary to make things very interesting for students,
because learning a language is hard work and often boring;

3. It is necessary to ask the student questions constantly, [but I don't stand up in front of the
class and ask them or ask students to answer them in a group. That does nothing positive, as
far as I can tell, and is just too boring for everyone concerned. I write everything down and
encourage students in my classes to use my topics and questions as examples for their own
topics and questions. It is important to make students realize that answers to the questions
are not the point of the class -- starting an interesting conversation is. If the questions
and topics are not interesting to the students involved, then there is no conversation. The
questions should be simple but allow for the most complex of answers so that they can be
answered by students at every level (it isn't as hard to write such questions as it seems),
and they must be plentiful, because unless there is a reason to talk, many students won't,
especially here in Far East Asia.]

4. [Here's one that the Callan Method does not recognize] It's best to allow students to talk
about things that interest them most rather than forcing them to listen to and talk things
that are boring to them.

I did check the Call Method out on the Web, and here is one bad review I found:

Message 1: Callan Method-Repost Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 11:23:32 +0200 From: Tomek Wojciechowski
<[email protected]> Subject: Callan Method-Repost


I submitted the following query (below) to linguistlist (Callan Method, 17, Jul, 2002) but I lost
all the replies due to a virus. Is it possible that all of you who wrote replies could send them to
me once again, that is, providing of course you saved them on your computers? I would be grateful.

Regards, Tomasz.

"I have been working as a Callan teacher in Poland for two years now. And, sadly enough, I must
admit I see very little progress in my students. I'm quitting this job in two weeks' time. Yet, I
would like to know what the opinions about the effectiveness of the method are as seen by the
professional linguists. And what's wrong with the method? Well, I think there's something wrong
with it. "


Tomasz Wojciechowski

Here's a query on Dave's ESL Cafe site:

Re: Callan Method - anyone has the same feelings about it?

Posted by nikki on Tuesday, 5 March 2002, at 7:24 p.m., in response to Re: Callan Method - anyone
has the same feelings about it?, posted by John on Tuesday, 20 November 2001, at 7:15 a.m.

Yes, I was a little skeptical of those percentages. I think there are many Europeans who don't speak
(at least not with any real level of speaking competence) any language other than their own. And
perhaps some of the most educated, who are actually interested in retaining knowledge from language
education received and seeking out more, do speak 4 or 5, but I think they are in the minority.
Here's just a little snippet I got from a quick search on Google from AIIC. The page is "The
European Year of Languages". What is AIIC? "AIIC is the international professional association that
represents conference interpreters and sets standards for the practice of the profession. " They do
have something in there about most parliamentary workers being able to work only within their own
language and about how half of Europeans claim to speak at least one other language (meaning the
other half claim no such thing). Of course I'm sure it varies country by country, but anyway, have a
look for yourself.

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