The Callan Method

The Callan Method

The Callan Method was invented in 1959 and has quickly developed into the teaching system of choice for countless English Language Schools around the world. But what exactly is the Callan Method? Is it really as fool-proof as its websites promise? And most importantly; is it an effective tool for learning English?

What it is…
The premise of the method is to involve students as much as possible. Rejecting the traditional teacher dictating to the silent pupil; the Callan Method places great emphasis on class interaction. It’s divided into 12 stages and involves the teacher asking the student a series of questions. The aim is to get students to speak as much as possible, to hold their attention and to stimulate memory; with a view to increasing their grammar and vocabulary without over complicating lessons with rare and difficult exceptions.

What it does…
Advocators of the Callan method claim that it guarantees four times faster progress. The question, answer, repetition structure is the basis of the structure; demanding participation from even the quietest students which in turn maximises development.

The general principle that governs the process is that non-English speakers wish to learn how to converse on an everyday level as soon as possible. Therefore classes focus on interaction rather than academic learning; in the hopes that students will attain basic English skills by the end of the 12 steps. The emphasis is on practicality rather than intellectual development.

As it is a communicative method of teaching there is no need to buy books.

What it doesn’t…
While the fixed structure of the Callan method certainly gets results; this characteristic rigidity is also its downfall. The teachers are only trained in the method itself; extensive knowledge of grammar and vocabulary is not demanded meaning that the expertise is somewhat limited.

Robin Callan, the founder of the method, is very clear on his future intentions for development, in that there will be none. He insists on maintaining the method; meaning there is no room for change. This has resulted in some commentators claiming that it is a dated tool which doesn’t allow for developments in the English language.

What’s the bottom line?
The Callan Method has many success stories; if you’re looking to reach fluency levels in a conversational, academic and professional sense it may not be the best option for you.

But if you want direct results and you wish to gain a working knowledge of English in a short space of time enrolling in a school that adopts this method may be a good option for you.

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