Subordinating teaching to learning
Resources for teachers looking for radical solutions
Caleb Gattegno's Silent Way
Some of the reasons why we do what we do
How do we learn?
Last Spring, I was in a public telephone booth on the Place Granvelle in Besançon, making a phone call. At the end of the call, I hung up and turned to the door. I pushed on the glass panel and, as it didn’t move, pushed a little harder. When it still didn’t move, I realized:
- that I was trapped in the telephone booth. Immediately, I turned my whole attention to the problem. I pushed again on the door, a little higher, hoping that this would help.
- Still the door didn’t open. I pushed on the door a little harder, lower down the panel, but could feel
- that there was no change in the resistance the door was offering to my hand. Then I realized
- that this door was made, not of one big pane of glass, but of two tall narrow ones side by side. I pushed on the left hand side of the right hand panel and immediately realized
- that there was more give in the door, that this was a more likely place to produce results. My emotion subsided a little and I became more engrossed in the task of getting out of the telephone booth. I pushed a little harder
- trying to estimate where the door was likely to yield most easily to my efforts. Then I realized
- that I should push on the other half of the door. I did so and the door opened easily and without further effort on my part. I walked out of the booth and went on my way.
This incident, which occupied less than sixty seconds of my life, nevertheless illustrates many of the principles on which Silent Way is based.
The four stages of learning
Learning takes place in four stages.